Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Friday signed into law a bill sponsored by state Sen. Susan Garrett, D-Lake Forest that creates a felony offense for parents if bodily harm occurs as a result of underage drinking in their home.
Garrett said the bill "unfortunately" was inspired by the teen drinking party at the Deerfield home of Jeffrey and Sara Hutsell last Oct. 13 which ended when two 18-year-olds died in a car crash at the end of the driveway.
Garrett said the incident triggered "many calls from law enforcement, mayors and citizens from across the state" who urged toughening up the law. "Tools like this are really needed." The bill was unanimously supported in both chambers.
"Parents shouldn't look the other way when underage kids are in their home drinking," Garrett said. "Hopefully, this law will be a deterrent.
"By and large, parents try to do the right thing. They need help in not sending a mixed message," she said. "They can't control teens who want to drink and leave. Parents legally are not allowed to constrain teens from leaving a home."
Garrett added, "I hope this law will be another milestone to ensure cooperation between parents, teens and law enforcement when it comes to underage drinking. Our goal is to keep our communities stronger, our parents more involved and our teens safer."
Current law carries a Class A misdemeanor charge if parents allow underage drinking.
While the bill's intention is to deter parents from serving underage teens in their homes, it also sends a strong message that the state intends to be vigilant when it comes to drinking and driving, Garrett said.
"I am pleased that the governor signed this critical legislation at the beginning of the Labor Day weekend," she said.
The Labor Day weekend is among the most deadly, for alcohol-related traffic deaths, according to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the National Traffic Safety Administration.
28. New Drivers License Design helps Limit use of Fake IDs (Indiana)
Exponent September 9, 2007
Sam Petry, a senior at Jefferson High School, jumps out of a fake television screen as part of the Haunted Feargrounds, located at the Tippecanoe Co. Fairgrounds.
It's been about two months since Indiana rolled out its new drivers licenses, which could reduce underage drinking in the coming months.
The new design has added security measures that adds a challenge for fake ID makers. The new license also comes in two versions, a vertical format for minors and horizontal for those over 21.
However, it may take some time before every Hoosier carries the new design.
Dennis Rosebrough, communications director for the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, says it could take years until the version becomes mainstream.
"Everybody's drivers license expires on his or her birthday and of course the renewal is every six years," said Rosebrough. As citizens continue to renew their licenses, the new versions will become more popular.
Although Rosebrough couldn't comment on all the security features of the new licenses, he said: "What I can tell you, there are embedded codes on the license and that makes them very difficult to duplicate or create counterfeits."
Although mass counterfeit distributions of the new ID haven't been uncovered, Lt. Michael Rosemeyer of the Indiana State Excise Police said other fake IDs are continuing to be an issue in West Lafayette and also across the state.
"We broke up a pretty major false ID ring with (Indianapolis University) last spring," he said. Rosemeyer hopes the new security features will reduce such operations.
He said his agency will continue to educate alcohol establishment owners and bar doorpersons about the security features of the most recent IDs.
"Here in West Lafayette, we do a good job and we'll continue to work with them and ensure they understand what to look for," said Rosemeyer.
As of yet, the manager for Bar Barry Liquors on Northwestern Avenue hasn't seen any fakes of the new version.