NEWS: House Passes Extended Buffer between Schools and Alcohol Sales

Student driven bill would keep children safe, prevent harassment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2014

Today, the Alaska state House of Representatives voted to extend the buffer zone between schools and establishments that sell alcohol. Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) introduced the legislation (HB336) in order to address student and community concerns about alcohol sales nears schools.

“Students at Clark Middle School don’t like leaving school and having to maneuver around intoxicated individuals hanging around the nearby liquor store,” said Tarr who decided to introduce the legislation after hearing student and parent complaints at local community council meetings. “I’m proud that the students spoke up and wanted to do something, and I thank my colleagues for passing it. This bill is about keeping our students safe.”

Current law prohibits alcohol sales within 200 feet of schools and churches. Tarr’s legislation would increase that distance to 400 feet. Establishments licensed before the bill takes effect would be grandfathered in at the 200 feet limit. An amendment to the bill gives the Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board the ability to address special circumstances where a location may not otherwise be grandfathered in.

“This bill is just one small but helpful step in addressing the problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption,” said Tarr. “To address the overall concern, we must recognize alcoholism as a disease, like cancer, that requires treatment for an individual to heal. I stand with Mountain View Community Council and others, including CHARR, calling for more dollars for alcohol treatment.”

The bill now goes to the state Senate for consideration.

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