The supervisors in Iowa’s largest county will hold the first reading today (Tuesday) on a beer keg registration ordinance. Assistant Polk County Attorney Michael O’Meara says a a diversion program the county instituted almost one year ago for minors charged with alcohol offenses spurred the keg ordinance.
The diversion program allows minors to wipe an alcohol offense from their record if they go through an education program. O’Meara says they’ve “just been amazed at the numbers of minors in Polk County that have become involved in the program.” He says one-thousand-76 minors have gone through the program in 11 and a half months.
O’Meara says the Polk County ordinance is patterned after an ordinance in neighboring Story County and one that takes effect in June in Boone County. He says this is an attempt at the retail site where the kegs are purchased to have a registration process to identify the adult who purchases the kegs of beer. O’Meara says the ordinance might not stem the flow of beer completely, but he says it will address some real concerns.
O’Meara says minors will still be able to get beer in other ways, but he says “keg beer has some unique problems, there’s always that tendency to feel like you’ve gotta empty the keg. And once again, that leads to real heavy amounts of consumption that bring the other problems, whether they’re auto accidents, violence or whatever.”
O’Meara says the ordinance also holds the people who’re illegally supplying the bear responsible for their actions. He says it’s “clearly and adult responsibility ordinance.” O’Meara says the ordinance would have to pass two more readings if the Polk County Supervisors approve it today. He says it would likely take 90 days before it would go into effect to give retailers time to prepare.
The death of a Polk County teen who was the son of a former state legislator spurred a failed effort in the Iowa Legislature to create a keg registration law and other restrictions on teen drivers.