By Kyle Albertson
Retailers selling alcohol have always had to keep an eye out for minors using fake identification cards to purchase beer and liquor. Now, a bill known as Assembly Bill 464 could give retailers a hand.
AB464 gives retailers the right to sue minors attempting to buy alcohol from their stores, according to the legislation. Even if the bill passes into law, it does not necessarily mean all retailers would use the power, though. Kurt Kandler, manager of the liquor department at Gordy’s County Market in Chippewa Falls, does not know if he sees any lawsuits in the store’s future if the bill passed into law.
“Putting something like this through the court system seems like a hassle and not worth the money,” Kandler said. “If we catch an underage buyer, we take the ID from them and attempt to call the authorities. That seems like it should be enough … It would probably cost just as much in court fees to sue them as what we would get if we won.”
Tyler DeBruin, a Holiday gas station employee in Eau Claire, said he is not sure there is a need for this type of legislation because of what he already does when he runs into the situation.
“I’ve kept IDs before,” DeBruin said. “I don’t think we’d go further than that. Most people who lose a fake ID usually stop trying to buy alcohol. The embarrassment of getting a fake ID rejected is a pretty big deterrent from trying again, I think.”
Emma Carlson, a UW-Eau Claire student who recently turned 21, thinks the punishment in the legislation sounds too severe.
“If somebody is just buying alcohol and gets caught, I think they should get into the same amount of trouble as if they were caught consuming,” she said.
However, Kandler said he sees how the legislation could help in certain cases.
“It all could depend on the situation,” Kandler said. “If it was a large purchase, or the person was not cooperative in giving up their fake ID, I think that something like that could make us think about taking a step like that. It definitely would scare some people into thinking twice about trying to buy alcohol when they’re underage.”
Carlson said she never used a fake ID she had when she was underage to buy alcohol from retailers because she was scared. This bill, she said, may make those who aren’t think twice.
“This is even worse now,” she said. “I’m glad I don’t have to worry about things like this anymore.”
AB464 is sponsored by Representative Andre Jacque, a 2nd Assembly District Republican. His plan is to make sure that minors working with law enforcement are protected from legal action.