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Monday, April 12, 2010

Liquor Board Proposal Would Ban 21-Year-Olds From Buying Booze

Posted by on Mon, Apr 12, 2010 at 9:59 AM

The Washington State Liquor Control Board is considering adopting a new rule (.pdf here) that would prohibit anyone without a horizontal ID from buying booze, ostensibly to keep minors from accessing alcohol. However, as the rule is currently proposed, it would also prevent adults from being served alcohol on their 21st birthdays, or buying alcohol at all, until they take a trip to the DMV and obtain a new driver's license.

Vertical, or portrait-style, driver's licenses are standard issue for anyone under the age of 21 in Washington and many states. The new rule would require a horizontal driver's license for purchasing liquor—period. Which means that even if you're 21, if you don't have a horizontal driver's license, you won't be served in bars and restaurants, or be able to buy your own liquor.

(Does anyone besides me admire the WSLCB for its unapologetic severity? I half expect them to start extracting promises from every licensed driver that should they incur a DUI, they will be penalized one pound of flesh.)

"This rule came percolating up from the retail sector," explains WSLCB spokesman Brian Smith. "A lot of places, especially restaurants, already don't accept vertical IDs." He admits the rule is rather severe as it is currently written, but says the WSLCB is seeking public comment on it now through April 28th. If it's an issue for the public, he says, "we should work in a grace period where it would not be effective, so there would be time for people to go out and get a horizontal ID."

To offer your comments, email them here:

Hat tip Joe.


Comments (33) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
the sound you are hearing is the line forming at the post office where a thousand 20 year olds are applying for their passports...
Posted by econoline on April 12, 2010 at 10:04 AM · Report this
if drug dealers started implementing rules like this there'd be uproar
Posted by anal smith on April 12, 2010 at 10:05 AM · Report this
Banna 3
So does the law state that you have to be of legal drinking age to purchase alcolhol, or just have a valid ID that states you're legally allowed to purchase?
Posted by Banna on April 12, 2010 at 10:08 AM · Report this
Most bars/liquor stores don't take expired driver's licences and if you're under 21 your licence expires on your 21st bday (or at least it did when I turned 21). So what's the big deal?
Posted by kersy on April 12, 2010 at 10:08 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 5
So people who don't drive can't buy booze? Sounds pretty dumb to me.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on April 12, 2010 at 10:09 AM · Report this
when i grew up in CT they had a similar rule. They would put a HUGE yellow "Y" over your personal info and regardless of the birthdate it was against the law to serve someone with the license.

I am not sure what people did for their 21st bdays but i moved to NYC when i was 18 and was never carded until AFTER my 21st bday.
Posted by ianbnyc on April 12, 2010 at 10:12 AM · Report this
Amnt 7
I'm 24 and still have my vertical license. What a stupid proposal...
Posted by Amnt on April 12, 2010 at 10:18 AM · Report this
lark 8
Wow, that's a bit draconian. I find it odd that they (the WA state legislature) would implement this. While I believe there should be no age limit LAW (I believe temperance or "how to drink" should be taught at home), I also realize that is impractical. Personally, I believe 18 y/o should be the lowest age limit (to serve alcohol) and the law. I reckon if one can fight and die for their country, they should be able to have a beer.

But, I understand that won't happen anytime soon in this state. I think there is more of a fear of underage girls and boys getting into bars and "older patrons" preying on them with alcohol lubricating the former (don't think it doesn't happen now). As I mentioned, this nation needs to learn how to drink and behave while drinking. So, it is impractical to lower the drinking age now. Yes, youngsters 21 y/o and under will figure out a way to get alcohol or enter a bar and yes, if it is lower those 18 y/o and under will figure out a way as well. But, this law if it passes is a punitive action before the fact. At 21 y/o let them drink and learn.
Posted by lark on April 12, 2010 at 10:19 AM · Report this
I have never had a driver's license and have relied on my state ID for booze-buying. Will they really penalize someone who doesn't have a license? Makes absolutely no sense.
Posted by -ink on April 12, 2010 at 10:20 AM · Report this
laterite 10
<--- facepalm
Posted by laterite on April 12, 2010 at 10:23 AM · Report this
elenchos 11
If we got rid of the Washington State Liquor Control Board, the only ones left to enforce liquor laws would be the city police, sheriff's department, Washington State Patrol, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and, um, I think the US Marshall's Service and Coast Guard too, when the feel like it.

Basically, utter lawlessness. We need the WSLCB as our only line of defense against alcohol-fueled pandemonium.
Posted by elenchos on April 12, 2010 at 10:24 AM · Report this
meanie 13
This is some dumb shit, so the point of the horizontal license is its a special coupon you can by liquor with? The laws need to be clear. either its state issued ID or it isn't.

The liquor board is out of control. End the state monopoly, and puritanical liquor laws.
Posted by meanie on April 12, 2010 at 10:27 AM · Report this
@9 It doesn't look like it. On the pdf it says driver's license OR identicard. As well as military ID, passport, etc.

The only thing that's changing is that your driver's license has to be horizontal, not vertical. Do WA driver's licenses expire on 21st bdays?
Posted by kersy on April 12, 2010 at 10:29 AM · Report this
@12 Okay, I didn't realize that. Then that's what they need to change. Most states with vertical under 21 DL's expire on the 21st bday so the point of the vertical license isn't lost - easily identifying people under the legal drinking age.
Posted by kersy on April 12, 2010 at 10:32 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 16
This sounds like an absurdly stupid proposal that will open a can of worms and expense for the state.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on April 12, 2010 at 10:39 AM · Report this
meanie 17
@kersy Its a bureaucratic fix to a non issue. The state is trying to dumb down ID checks so that people in retail don't have to worry about fines for doing basic math on birthdays, or just refusing to serve people ad hoc.

If horizontal = drinking age, any and all fakes will just be horizontal. Now everyone can just play dumb why they are caught serving minors. No one is saved from the evil liquor.

This is just the liquor board coddling the businesses they routinely abuse for political points with MADD and other lobbying groups who think liquor is a universal evil.
Posted by meanie on April 12, 2010 at 10:39 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 18
State lawmakers sure do waste a lot of time and go to incredible lengths of trouble to try preventing things that they have no hope whatsoever of preventing.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on April 12, 2010 at 10:43 AM · Report this
Utterly ridiculous, time and resource wasting proposal. All this will create is a line of people at the DMV to get a new license on their 21st birthday. I am 26 and have a horizontal license, so this change will not affect me at all, but I can’t think of a reason why this proposal should be enacted. The proposed idea to have a “grace period” will only further complicate the matter. If the server is too incompetent to look at a birthdate and needs a horizontal license to determine whether or not a person is 21 then maybe you should offer remedial math classes to the affected service workers instead.
Posted by JaketheSnake on April 12, 2010 at 10:52 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 21
just have the DMV mail new horizontal licenses to all the kiddies just before their birthays! what could go wrong?

i admit, i know what could go wrong: people under the age of 21 MIGHT DRINK ALCOHOL.

such a fucked up country, wasting time arguing about bullshit.
Posted by Max Solomon on April 12, 2010 at 10:53 AM · Report this
vooodooo84 22
My roommate who is 24 got hosed by the Wingdome's policy of not serving vertical licenses, shitty wings and no beer make for unhappy people.

Basically a retarded rule, especially when WA licenses already have a notation of when the person turns 21 on them, how hard is it for people to look at that?
Posted by vooodooo84 on April 12, 2010 at 10:55 AM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 23
@11 "We need the WSLCB as our only line of defense against alcohol-fueled pandemonium."

I disagree with you, elenchos, but man, what fantastic rhetoric. I'm going to be muttering "alcohol-fueled pandemonium" under my breath all day. Thanks for that.
Posted by Cienna Madrid on April 12, 2010 at 10:57 AM · Report this
@17 Why is making it easier to ID kids under 21 a bad thing? Politics of alcohol aside.

As for fake ids: The point of vertical IDs isn't to make it harder for kids to get fakes. Kids still get fakes in states with all horizontal IDs. I know I did.
Posted by kersy on April 12, 2010 at 10:57 AM · Report this
godtomsatan 26
Boohoo. Who gives a crap? They have the rest of their lives to hold up lines and piss off bartenders with their stupid drink orders while asking every time if they have to pay because it's their birthday.

You people sound freaking out about it sound similar to gun nuts paranoid about what types of bullets you can legally purchase at a swap meet.
Posted by godtomsatan on April 12, 2010 at 11:10 AM · Report this
SchmuckyTheCat 27
@15, it is easy to identify people under the legal drinking age. You do grade school math on the birthdate printed on any legal identification card. If you can't do grade school math, you have no business selling alcohol.
Posted by SchmuckyTheCat on April 12, 2010 at 11:13 AM · Report this
Fnarf 28
Are we sure this isn't a stealth revenue-enhancing program to force underagers to have to renew their licenses (at $25 a pop) one additional time?
Posted by Fnarf on April 12, 2010 at 11:17 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 29
Or you could just drive up to BC and get a drink at 19.

Fun fact: we used to drive to ID to get drinks at 18 when I lived there.
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 12, 2010 at 11:23 AM · Report this
@27 Then we should all have horizontal licenses. But that's not going to happen, so it makes no sense to have people over 21 with licenses that ID you as under 21. It defeats the purpose of the different shape.
Posted by kersy on April 12, 2010 at 11:24 AM · Report this
sepiolida 31
Ya, I'm 23 and still have a vertical. I think I ordered the new one a couple days before my 21st, and they didn't want me to have a horizontal for one extra day. Idiots. Also, I had my 21st in Cali, and apparently WA temps aren't recognized there. The 4th bar I went to agreed to serve me. All very annoying - seriously, back off. It's just alcohol.
Posted by sepiolida on April 12, 2010 at 11:29 AM · Report this
SchmuckyTheCat 33
#30, no. the vertical ID says to the alcohol server (or tobacco seller, which is available at 18, or lottery ticket vendor, or military recruiter, or whatever other age restricted thing) that they need to PAY EXTRA ATTENTION. The vertical ID does not mean deny, it means warning.
Posted by SchmuckyTheCat on April 12, 2010 at 12:15 PM · Report this
w7ngman 34
What's also silly is that your ID can't be expired.

Of course, that hasn't stopped me from getting into every single bar I've been carded at since my license expired about a month ago.

I swear sometimes they don't even look at the birth date let alone the expiration date, they just glance at the picture.
Posted by w7ngman on April 12, 2010 at 12:52 PM · Report this
vooodooo84 35
Here is the Comment I wrote to the LCB: Please write them folks, because they are required to review all the comments, and the more substantive and well reasoned the more likely they are to influence the agency

I am writing to opppose the proposed rule prohibiting the use of vertical oriented identification cards for the purchase of alcohol.

There are many Washington State citizens, up to the age of twenty-five, who hold a vertical drivers licenses. They may have passed their drivers test later than 16, or had to replace their card due to loss or theft. Because these individuals have reached the legally specified drinking age and have a valid Washington State issued ID card. They should not be discriminated against for an enforcement tool of dubious value.

With modern security features and a notice of when the holder turns 21 on many id cards, this rule is unnecessary, the mere presence of a vertical license puts the server on notice to scrutinize the license more closely. A large class of individuals will now be required to head to the Department of Licencing on or after their birthdays merely to change the orientation of an otherwise valid and perfectly functional vertical license. All this rule accomplishes is adding a bureaucratic headache upon the already heavily regulated transaction.

This rule may also negatively impact the tourism industry of the state, (including the numerous wineries) by requiring all licenses, including out of state and Canadian vertical licenses, the rule would exclude with very little notice all out of state residents who don't have the opportunity or inclination to change their vertical licenses into horizontal licenses before coming into the state and supporting our economy through the numerous wineries, microbreweries, and other drinking establishments. If tourists cannot reliably drink in these attractions that are designed around the responsible enjoyment of alcohol, it will hurt Washington State as a whole. We will get a reputation as not being accommodating and reasonable towards what should be one of our greatest assets.

While establishments should have the right to refuse to serve to overage holders of vertical licenses, the state should not mandate that valid licenses cannot be used for the purpose of buying alcohol, merely because of their orientation. This should be a discretionary choice of each establishment, an overarching mandate is far too broad a brush to be regulating with. It will be far too over-inclusive, effectively prohibiting purchase by a large class of individuals who are in all respects responsible purchasers of alcohol. It is under-inclusive in that very few of the infringing sales are going to be prevented, as the server would necessarily be inspecting their identification cards in order to see whether they were oriented properly and could easily check the birthdate, or the notice of when the holder turned Twenty-one. This is a solution in search of a problem, and I do not think that the Washington State Liquor Control Board should adopt it.
Posted by vooodooo84 on April 12, 2010 at 1:16 PM · Report this
Tingleyfeeln 36
This is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard! And that is just the proposed law! Add to that that some resturaunts and bars refuse service to those presenting valid ID's that were issued before that person turned 21. Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck! Stupid fucking inbred idiots!

There's a line on a drivers license that shows the birthdate, and many states have spent much of our tax dollars to design and redesign ID's so that fake's are more difficult to create, and to make it more difficult for expired ID's to be sold to minors wishing to skirt the law. On top of all that, if you do not drive, do not posess a passport, and only use a STATE ISSUED ID card, but you're out of state, many places won't accept it. Fucking Idiots! When I was a cashier, my employer had a book behind the counter, with up to date depictions of all valid forms of ID, so that every person who was elligable could purchase beer, cigs, and porn, and not have their valid ID proven useless.

Is keeping alcohol, tobacco, porn, and lottery tickets away from minors so important that these useless, tax-funded, assholes have to sit around and find new ways to clutter up our lawbooks?
Posted by Tingleyfeeln on April 12, 2010 at 4:40 PM · Report this
@4, I realize you got your followup, but to explain, you probably got your drivers license in the state of Washington at 16, right? But not everyone gets their license at 16, and if you move from another state and become a WA resident, you might not get a WA license until much later, even if you got one in another state at 16.
They shouldn't accept expired licenses, but this is basically saying that a vertical license is not a valid form of ID, in which case why is it used at all?
Posted by DJames on January 18, 2012 at 11:02 AM · Report this

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