The Vermont Senate has passed a resolution asking the federal government to drop its threat of penalties for states that want to lower their drinking age. The resolution states that the minimum drinking age should be left to state discretion and cites several reasons why 18 would be a more appropriate minimum age.
Congress was urged to create a waiver from the federal transportation funding penalties for states that would like to explore policy alternatives to the 21 year-old drinking age. Vermonters have been debating lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18. According to the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, all states are required to raise their minimum purchase and public possession of alcohol age to 21. States that do not comply face a reduction in highway funds under the Federal Highway Aid Act. By passing this resolution, Vermont hopes to gain more flexibility when it comes to how they deal with the drinking age.
The resolution concludes, “The Senate of the State of Vermont urges Congress to authorize the states to address the problems associated with underage consumption of alcohol by obtaining waivers from federal law to avoid triggering federal funding penalties.”
It is a big win for youth rights advocates as this is the first time since 1984 that something like this has been passed. The resolution represents a milestone in the nationwide movement to rethink 21-year-old drinking age. Still, the resolution is just the first step in the long process. Choose Responsibility did wonderful work in helping to pass this legislation.