Alcohol will always be linked to government regulation. Ever since Prohibition was repealed on December 5, 1933, when the 21st Amendment was ratified, government hands in the regulation and supply of alcohol sales is nothing new. Still, after all this time, only commercial distillers can make moonshine and big beer is still trying to take down the competition from independent breweries. In the midst of this new world of beer, liquor, and wine, Tennessee lawmakers are looking to scare off potential DUI offenders with a new proposed bill that would ban DUI offenders from buying alcohol.
The bill in the Tennessee government would "allow judges to prohibit those convicted of driving under the influence from purchasing alcohol," as The Tennessean reported. The bill, since passing in the House, has shifted forms with an amendment. Prior, HB 1698 sought to ban those with third convictions from buying alcohol for life, and offered a judge's discretion for first- and second-time offenders, those without prior offenses. Rep. Bud Hulsey and Sen. Frank Niceley, both Republicans, introduced the bill; Vice Chairman Rep. Michael Curcio, a Democrat, is responsible for the amendment.
The establishments aren't skipping by scot-free if they serve an offender because the bill proposes that the sale or purchase of alcohol to one of the offenders would be a Class C misdemeanor. The new amendment removed the lifetime ban of sales to prior offenders and drunk drivers, along with the punishment of sales to DUI offenders so that store owners and restaurant workers will not be implicated in the offender's crime. While we're unsure how this would work if, say, a table of family members ordered a round of drinks, and one was unable to purchase alcohol, but the fine print will be stamped if it passes.
The new bill would also require those offenders to update their driver's licenses to indicate their status so those responsible for the purchase of alcohol will know immediately. If the measure passes and is signed into law, the proposed changes will take effect on July 1, 2018 with no word on the new licenses.
There is also talk of the implementation holding until 2020 to avoid a high cost. We'll keep looking into this story as the bill advances through Tennessee's legislature.
Do you think every state should have this bill to prevent drunk driving, or is this too much regulation after a DUI conviction? Whether you live in Ohio, Louisiana, Texas, or Nashville, Tennessee, drinking and driving should never be an option.