The House of Representatives approved a bill on Wednesday that would allow a person under the age of 21 to enter a liquor store.
House Bill 2325 would allow a person under the age of 21 to enter a license retail spirits location when accompanied by their parent or legal guardian.
The measured passed with a 77-23 vote.
The Business and Commerce committee passed the measure 12-0 Monday morning.
“HB 2325 simply removes an unfair business regulation on local businesses,” Representative Kevin McDugle (R–Broken Arrow) said on the floor.
With the passed alcohol laws in Oklahoma last year, McDugle said parents are not allowed to take their kids into a liquor store, but they are allowed to take them into the liquor aisle in a grocery store.
“It’s a public safety issue because a lot of parents are leaving their kids in the parking lot when they walk into a liquor store,” McDugle said. “It’s an unfair business regulation on those liquor stores.”
Representative Todd Russ (R-Cordell) debated and voted against the bill.
“This bill does allow impressionable age children to go into a liquor store. There is a distinct difference in a liquor store and the grocery store.”
“We got 10,000 government babies that DHS (Department of Human Services) has picked up from parents who didn’t do the right thing and now we are condoning and allowing those parents to do something that probably has been a big part of the reason we had those 10,000 babies that the government has had to take over.”
Russ said allowing this measure would be “a horrible family value move for the state to allow this.”
“I think the health and wellbeing of our young people, our children will be better serve to leave the law like it is.”
McDugle says government needs to get out of the way of business.
“Liquor stores started losing money because retail stores now serve alcohol and spirts. So now those liquor stores either have kids standing outside in some dangerous areas, which is a public safety issue, or we also have those liquors stores losing money because their simply going to Walmart because they can take their kids.”