DENVER– A bill sponsored by state Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray) to allow parents to drink in public with their children, ages 18 – 20, was roasted instead of toasted Wednesday by the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.
The bill is “extending to responsible parents the ability to show their kids how to enjoy an adult beverage in a public setting,” said Brophy, who added the concept originated from conversations with constituents.
Parents can legally serve alcohol to underage children in their homes, but Senate Bill 54 would have allowed them to order drinks for their older children in public places such as restaurants and taverns.
The bill, coined “Drinks with Dad,” Brophy said, would allow “your 20-year-old daughter… to have margaritas with mom” at a public venue.
“If I want my daughter to have margaritas with me, then I would invite her over to my house,” said state Sen. Evie Hudak (D-Westminster).
“My son is 15 years old, and in three years he wants to join the military. He can go fight in Afghanistan and he can defend our country,” said state Sen. Ted Harvey (R-Highlands Ranch). But when he comes home from defending our country and “if I want to take him out for a beer in Colorado I couldn’t do that.”
State Sen. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa) agreed with the disparity in being able to serve in the military at the age of 18, but not be allowed to have a drink in this state. Crowder said he’d prefer to lower the legal drinking age to 18, but that would mean a loss of federal funds for Colorado.
The bill was opposed by the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police, the Colorado Restaurant Association and the Tavern League of Colorado.
The measure would have allowed proprietors of establishments to opt in or out of the legal measure, and they would not be liable if the clients misrepresented their familial relationship.
“I used to wait tables – serve as they say these days,” said state Sen. Matt Jones (D-Louisville). “It was hard enough to card people to see if they were 21.”
More difficult, Jones said, would be verifying the relationship between a child and parent. Because of different last names, he said that might require birth certificates.
Problems caused by alcohol consumption have gone down in the 28 states that have passed similar laws, Brophy said, citing a study by the National Conference of State Legislators.
Brophy had acknowledged that the bill’s passage was a long shot, but it failed in a 4-1 committee vote with Republican Crowder joining Democrats Hudak, Jones and Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo. Harvey cast the lone vote for the measure.