A northern Illinois lawmaker has proposed legislation that would lower the state’s minimum drinking age to 18.
The bill, proposed by Freeport Rep. John Cabello, was introduced on Friday in the state legislature.
HB 4021 would lower the state’s legal drinking age to 18 by amending the Liquor Control Act of 1934, which set the drinking age at 21 following the end of Prohibition.
The legislation would also amend other bills that list the state’s legal drinking age.
The battle over having a nationally-recognized standard age to allow the purchase, production and possession of alcohol was a hot-button topic in the 1980’s, with some states lowering the legal drinking age to 18 in response to a Constitutional amendment that lowered the voting age to 18.
The National Minimum Drinking Age Act, passed in 1984, mandated that state’s raise their minimum age for alcohol consumption to 21, with the Ronald Reagan-backed legislation codifying language that would revoke federal highway funding from states that did not comply, according to Vox and other media outlets.
Lawsuits were filed, with the Supreme Court ultimately siding with the Reagan administration’s policies in the South Dakota v. Dole decision.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that having the minimum drinking age set at 21 has led to fewer vehicle crashes, has reduced underage drinking and has helped young Americans to avoid adverse outcomes, such as drug dependence, adverse health outcomes and suicide.
Some advocates have expressed support for lowering the drinking age to 18, with an Indiana University study arguing that doing so would “allow (young adults) to drink in controlled environments,” and could reduce irresponsible behaviors caused by illegal and secretive drinking.
There is no word on whether the bill will be taken up by committee.
Editor’s Note: A hat-tip to Twitter user @ChicagoBars for highlighting the filing of the bill.
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March 22, 2023 at 06:36PM