NEWS: Increased School Buffer Zones for Alcohol Sales Establishments Moves from Committee

Rep. Geran Tarr

April 7, 2014

JUNEAU – Today, the House Labor & Commerce Committee passed Representative Geran Tarr’s legislation to extend the buffer zone for alcohol sales near schools and churches.

“Students spoke up and asked what they could do after being frustrated by routine harassment from intoxicated individuals and seeing these individuals urinating and vomiting near Clark Middle School,” said Tarr (D-Anchorage).  “Extending the buffer zone between schools and alcohol sales can improve students’ safety by preventing these interactions in the future.”

Currently, state laws restrict sales to 200 feet or more away from the entrance to a school or church.  This bill would extend the buffer zone to 400 feet for future retail establishments, bars, and restaurants applying for liquor licenses.  This bill also includes a grandfather clause which exempts existing locations with a liquor license.  Looking forward, this bill would increase student safety as new schools rise across Alaska and new establishments that sell alcohol are licensed.

“There is no quick fix for the social symptoms of alcoholism,” said Tarr. “This bill is just one small but helpful step in addressing alcoholism.  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.  For now, I am glad to encourage the Legislature to take this small step towards protecting Alaska children around their schools.”

H.B. 336 now awaits a vote on the House Floor.



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