A decisive vote in the Iowa House today for a bill to track beer kegs. Supporters say it will help law enforcement track who’s buying or serving alcohol for minors. Representative Dave Jacoby, a Democrat whose district includes the University of Iowa, says it’ll be especially helpful in college towns. J
acoby says people who buy kegs don’t have to be nervous about it. "But," he adds, "if you are purchasing a keg of beer for illegal purposes, then you should indeed be inhibited, feel a barrier, be tracked in terms of purchasing these kegs." Customers actually buy the beer but rent the keg containing it, and Jacoby says each keg will have an identification number, which will be logged by the retailer when someone rents the keg.
Representative Mike Reasoner from Creston says he was approached by a group of students from Lamoni four years ago, after one of their friends was hurt at a keg party — but nobody could find out at the time who’d bought the keg. He says we can send a message, "that if you as an adult choose to furnish alcohol to underage people, there are consequences." Jacoby, a Democrat from Coralville, says the bill will help keep people from evading responsibility for letting — or helping — young people drink.
Jacoby says many times when kegs are purchased, especially in college towns, the tracking of who’s responsible gets difficult — whose party it is, whose house or apartment it’s at. He says tracking the keg will help clear up the confusion and make providers responsible.
Reasoner, who’s also a Democrat, agrees. Reasoner says nobody expects to solve underage drinking, but the bill could help law enforcement do their job and track down adults who break state law and give alcohol to underage drinkers and hold them responsible.
Christopher Rants, the leader of Republicans in the House, criticized a "big-brother" attitude demonstrated by the keg-registration bill, and said it might make young people forgo beer but try harder drinks. Rants says there are other "alcohol alternatives" for young people. He says the kids aren’t supposed to be drinking, but he’s concerned about pushing them into hard liquor, which has him concerned about serious effects like alcohol poisoning. The bill passed 88-to-ten and now goes to the senate.