As reported by Emily Miller of the Sun Sentinel last week, Boca Raton’s elected officials want businesses to make it clear: Underage drinking is against the law.
The city council passed a rule that requires businesses in Boca that sell or dispense alcohol to clearly display at least one sign about underage drinking laws.
The notice must state:
- It is unlawful to sell or dispense alcohol to anyone under 21.
- The penalties under Florida law associated with the selling or dispensing of alcoholic beverages to, or the possession of alcoholic beverages by, anyone under 21 may include, but are not limited to, imprisonment for a period of up to 60 days, a fine up to $500, or both.
- It is unlawful to purchase or possess alcohol if you are under 21.
The notice must also include the telephone number for the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco — 866-540-7837 — and the hotline 1-877-632-6721 so people can report violations of Florida law.
Any business that does not post the notice within 60 days could face a fine. Businesses can print the notice off the city’s website, ci.boca-raton.fl.us.
Mayor Susan Haynie said she pushed for the proposal after being approached by Teen Coalition in Action, the youth division of the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition.
“I think any effort to curtail underage drinking is a positive,” she said.
At Councilman Scott Singer’s request, the proposal was amended to remove the Boca Raton Police Department’s phone number from the notice, to allow businesses 60 days to comply, to preclude imprisonment as a penalty for not posting the sign and to eliminate any size requirement for the notice.
“My amendments are the correct balance between discouraging underage drinking and overburdening small businesses,” Singer said. “I hope these signs will serve as a reminder that you have to be 21 years old to drink and buy alcohol.”
The law — with Singer’s changes — passed 3-2. Council members Robert Weinroth and Jeremy Rodgers voted against the measure, saying they feel the city has the issue of underage drinking under control.
“There are a lot of things we can put up signs about,” Weinroth said. “There comes a point where adding signs doesn’t do anything.”
Source: Sun Sentinel, Emily Miller
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