ABC Board could vote on slightly higher fines for bars serving underage individuals at meeting Thursday

Underage drinking in the Capitol City has been a hot topic recently after the death of Madison Brooks, following a night of drinking at a bar in Tigerland.
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 10:53 PM CST

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Underage drinking in the Capital City has been a hot topic recently after the death of Madison Brooks, following a night of underage drinking at a bar in Tigerland.

Officials with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Office tried to explain what they’re doing to stop it, at the Metro Council meeting on Wednesday, March 8.

This comes as ABC Board members could vote on new fines for bars caught in violation on Thursday.

“If they’re not held accountable down the road, then we’re kind of spinning our wheels. So, all of us together have to hold those kids, those businesses, more accountable for what they do,” said Christopher Cranford, director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Office.

While Cranford says ABC officials are doing compliance checks on these bars, he had some pretty bold and somewhat wild ideas as to how to combat the underage drinking problem.

“Maybe finger printing, something with some of the state ID’s that are currently being used. Some changes with that would probably prevent a lot of kids from using a fake ID,” said Cranford.

Officials with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Office showed a huge batch of fake ID’s collected over the weekend in Baton Rouge.

ABC officials have some suggestions on what future discussions should include:

Alcoholic Beverage Control future suggestions.
Alcoholic Beverage Control future suggestions.(WAFB)

“You know again, how are you going to stop it, from using fake ID’s. I’m a personal believer that sometimes you have to go to extremes,” said Councilwoman Denise Amoroso, District 8.

“I think one thing is evident, if people want to drink regardless of whether they’re 15, 19, 20, they’re going to find a way to do it,” said Councilwoman Jennifer Racca, District 12.

On Thursday, the ABC Board will vote on changes to how bars are fined when it comes to underage drinking.

The first offense for failure to check for ID’s, fines could go from $500 to $600.

The first offense for bars allowing underage people to drink alcohol, the fines could increase to $750 for a first offense.

Below is a look at some of the other proposed changes in blue.

Class III Offenses.
Class III Offenses.(WAFB)

“You’ve got to do things that are going to deter people from breaking the law. And I know a lot of times the excuse is, well my people can’t afford it. Well then don’t do it, don’t break the law,” said Amoroso.

The ABC Board should vote on those small increased fines at their meeting Thursday which starts at 4:30 p.m. The agenda states ‘Discussion and Consideration – ABC Board Fine Schedule.’

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