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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Booze bill

 
 

Benjamin Franklin is regarded as one of the most important figures in American history. A noted statesman and inventor, Franklin made a number of memorable statements. Perhaps the most profound of these was “beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
State Rep. Rob Eissler (R-The Woodlands) is in apparent disagreement with this maxim concerning one of Aggieland’s favorite sources of liquid refreshment. Eissler recently filed House Bill 38 for consideration in the upcoming state legislative session. The bill would prohibit bars from serving drinks that contain more than one-half ounce of absolute alcohol and subject those who break the law to criminal prosecution.
This is a horrendous piece of legislation and must be defeated.
Many popular beers and mixed drinks served in bars across the state contain more than one-half ounce of alcohol. Think of it this way – if House Bill 38 passes you will not be able to buy more than 12 ounces of beer that is 4 percent alcohol by volume or consume a mixed drink or shot that contains more than 1.25 ounces of 80-proof liquor. If you want a margarita, long island ice tea or a pint of Shiner Bock, you will have to go home and pour it yourself.
This bill will not stop people from drinking large quantities of alcohol. It will, however, cause bars to serve beer in small quantities and prepare mixed drinks that are watered down. It will also force people to drink at home, where they are more likely to do so dangerously.
Along with the sheer ineffectiveness of achieving its desired outcome, this bill would also constitute a gross interference with the operations of businesses. The sale of alcoholic beverages is the primary reason that the Northgate area has been successfully redeveloped and is an economic boom for the city of College Station. If this bill becomes law, there is no doubt that business at Northgate will be seriously affected.
What also must be asked is what the proper role of government is in regulating the alcoholic content of drinks. This is a perfect example of where the government should let the market decide what they want to drink. If the public wants to drink beverages with more than half an ounce of alcohol, let it.
Furthermore, the government is stepping into dangerous territory when it attempts to regulate the behavior of an adult who poses no harm to the public. There are already laws that can be used to punish drunken individuals who pose a threat to the public and deter others from engaging in such behavior.
House Bill 38 is the result of an anti-alcohol crusade launched by Susan Wagener, the mother of a Texas A&M student who died after a night of binge drinking on his 21st birthday. What happened to Wagener’s son, Michael, was indeed tragic and the bar where he consumed most of the alcohol that night was recently ordered to pay his family $5 million due to its role in contributing to his death.
However, what most accounts of this story refuse to acknowledge is that the person most responsible for the death of Michael Wagener was Michael Wagener himself. He is the one who chose to drink irresponsibly. The state of Texas does not need to punish the majority of bar patrons who do drink responsibly for the mistakes of one person.
Susan Wagener and organizations such as Mother Against Drunk Driving (MADD) will likely be rallying their allies to make House Bill 38 a law. Many representatives will simply not want to stand up against this bill fearing that they will appear soft on alcohol abuse or heartless for not trying to prevent another deadly night of binge drinking. This is an issue where emotions will run high and dominate debate. It should be our role to bring logic and reason to the debate and expose this bill for the unnecessary and ineffective drivel that it is.

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