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Ohio lawmaker proposes banning anyone under 21 from entering alcohol-related businesses

Posted at 7:22 AM, Jan 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-24 07:23:30-05

CLEVELAND — An Ohio lawmaker has drafted a bill that would make it illegal for anyone under 21 to walk into a bar, restaurant or brewery that makes the majority of its money through alcohol sales, even if the person under 21 is with a guardian or parent.

Senator Tina Maharath ( D-District 3) introduced Senate Bill 115 and said the laws in neighboring states of Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia and Pennsylvania provide no exception to underage alcohol possession or consumption.

The current bill allows people under 21 to possess and consume alcohol under the supervision of a parent, guardian or spouse.

“The purpose of this legislation, which is indicated in the sub-bill, is to eliminate those exceptions,” said Maharath in a statement.

However, the introduced bill has restaurants and breweries on alert because they say it will hurt their businesses as some advertise themselves as family friendly.

"We depend on the families that come in here, actually friends and family of all us. My niece comes in here. We are a little nervous about it," said Ian Barrie, general manager of Boss Dog Brewery.

Maharath said it wasn’t her intent for businesses to the target of the bill, adding that proposed bill in its current form will likely be reworked, but so far no changes have been made.