A version of this story first appeared on The Center Square.
The Ohio Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee held its first hearing on a bill that would prohibit anyone younger than 21 years old from entering a bar in Ohio.
Senate Bill 115 would apply to establishments — including breweries, micro-distilleries and wineries — with beer and liquor sales that exceed 60 percent of its total gross receipts. Under current law, people under 21 years of age may enter such an establishment, but businesses are barred from serving them.
“Current Ohio Law allows people under the age of 21 to possess and consume alcohol under the supervision of a parent, guardian or spouse,” state Sen. Tina Maharath, D-Columbus, said in prepared testimony. “The purpose of this legislation is to eliminate those exceptions.”
The states of Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia and Pennsylvania do not have exceptions to underage alcohol possession or consumption, according to Maharath.
“Underage drinking is the most prevalent form of substance abuse among our youth,” Maharath added. “It is a dangerous behavior that can lead to tragic accidents and varying health problems. Research shows that the longer children delay drinking and drug use, the less likely they are to develop problems associated with it.”