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Saturday, April 28, 2007

 Assembly Bill 1657 (Runner)


MEASURE : A.B. No. 1657
AUTHOR(S) : Sharon Runner and Torrico.
TOPIC : Alcoholic beverages: underage drinking.

Majority Vote Required
State-Mandated Local Program
Non-Tax Levy

LAST HIST. ACT. DATE: 04/18/2007
LAST HIST. ACTION : From committee: Do pass, and re-refer to Com. on APPR.
Re-referred. (Ayes 6. Noes 0.) (April 17).

TITLE : An act to amend Section 25658 of the Business and
Professions Code, relating to alcoholic beverages.


Bill Analysis
 Date of Hearing:   April 17, 2007
Counsel: Kimberly A. Horiuchi

Jose Solorio, Chair

AB 1657 (Runner) - As Introduced: February 23, 2007

SUMMARY : Creates an alternate misdemeanor-felony, as
specified, for any person to furnish alcohol to a minor who
thereafter causes death or great bodily injury (GBI), as
specified. Specifically, this bill :

1)States any person who purchases, furnishes or gives any
alcoholic beverage to a person the provider knew or reasonably
should have known was under 21, where thereby the person under
21 proximately causes death or great bodily injury to him or
herself or others and the provider knew or reasonably should
have known of the danger, shall be punished by up to one year
in county jail or a term of 16, 2 or 3 years in state prison.

2)States retail employees shall not be subject to a felony
prosecution, as specified, for the sale of alcoholic beverages
to a person under the age of 21 unless the retail employee
knew the person was under the age of 21.

. . . . .


1)Author's Statement : According to the author, "In 2005, I
introduced 'Jeffrey's Law' in the memory of a 17-year-old boy
taken from his mother. A 41-year-old woman provided Jeffrey
and his underage friends with alcohol, allowing 11 of them to
drive away in an SUV. This action took the lives of two
children and seriously injured the others.

"Unfortunately, my legislation failed, and adults in California
continued providing alcohol to minors. Last year in my
district, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer Gregory John
Bailey - a husband and father of four children - was struck
and killed by an intoxicated underage driver while performing
a traffic stop. The minor had dropped off the adult friend,
who provided him with his alcohol, moments before the crash.

"Whose life will be taken this year? This problem is not unique
to my district. The following statistics, provided by the
Office of the Attorney General, demonstrate its prevalence
throughout California: on 2000, 2,177 youths who had been
drinking were involved in fatal and injury collisions in
California (CHP Fact Sheet 2000); in 1999, there were 1,741
driving-under-the-influence (DUI) arrests of youths under 18
and 13,875 DUIs of underage drivers age 18 to 20 in California
(Annual Report of California DUI Management Information
System, 2001). More than 33% of vehicle-related teen deaths
involve alcohol (California Office of Traffic Safety).

2)Defining the Elements of Business and Professions Code Section
: Alcohol regulation has long devolved to the power
of the states under the Twenty-First Amendment. Business and
Professions Code Section 25658(c) does not explicitly require
that the offender have knowledge, intent, or some other mental
state when purchasing or furnishing the alcoholic beverage.
[ In re Michael Lee Jennings (2004) 34 Cal. 4th 254, 262.] In
re Michael Lee Jennings
deals squarely with the issue imagined
by the author. In that case, the defendant had a party where
underaged attendants consumed alcohol and then got into an
accident resulting in GBI. The court stated, "The generalized
action of the typical social party host, providing libations
for his or her guests, do not run afoul of the more specific
Business and Professions Section 25658(c), because as a
general matter, such hosts cannot be said to have purchased
alcoholic beverages for any particular guest. To violate
Business and Professions Section 25658, one must not only
furnish alcohol to an underage person, one must purchase the
alcohol for that person (emphasis added). In light of the
plain meaning of the statutory language, we conclude that
Business and Professions Section 25658 applies to any
situation in which an individual purchases alcoholic beverages
for an underage person." ( Id ., at 266.) The most common
manifestation of this scenario is 'shoulder tapping', meaning
an underage person approaching an adult to buy liquor for

3)Arguments in Support : According to the Office of the Mayor,
City of West Covina
, "AB 1657 provides that any person who
purchases any alcoholic beverage for, or furnishing, giving,
or giving away any alcoholic beverage to, a person who the
provider knew or reasonably should have known to be under the
age of 21 years, and the person under the age of 21 years
thereafter consumes the alcohol and thereby proximately causes
great bodily injury or death or himself, herself, or any other
person, and the provider knew or reasonably should have know
of the danger, is guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony."

4)Arguments in Opposition : None submitted.

5)Prior Legislation :

a) AB 454 (Runner), of the 2005-06 Legislative Session, was
identical to this bill and failed passage in the Senate
Committee on Public Safety.

b) AB 2967 (Runner), of the 2005-06 Legislative Session,
was identical to this bill and failed passage in the Senate
Committee on Public Safety.



City of Adelanto
Crime Victims United
Office of the Mayor, City of West Covina
57 private citizens


Drug Policy Alliance Network