New bill would raise minimum age to 21 to enter all La. bars

One Louisiana state senator wants to raise the minimum age to enter a bar in Louisiana to 21.
Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 5:39 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - One Louisiana state senator wants to raise the minimum age to enter a bar in Louisiana to 21.

Unlike most bars in the United States, it’s not uncommon for someone as young as age 18 to be at a bar in Louisiana. They can’t buy drinks, but they are allowed in most buildings.

However, after what happened to LSU student Madison Brooks after leaving Reggie’s back in January, Louisiana State Senator Beth Mizell wants to change the attitude toward bars.

In a statement, Senator Mizell said, “Madison’s death was a tragedy that never should have happened. Three of the assailants involved in this senseless act of violence were under 21 and should have been nowhere near the bar. We cannot allow this to happen again.

A bill from Senator Mizell, otherwise known as the “Card ‘Em Act,” would synchronize Louisiana with the rest of the country and ban anyone under the age of 21 from entering bars.

Senator Mizell said, “We need to take strong action to prevent underage drinking and ensure that young adults in our community are safe. The “Card ‘Em Act” is a common-sense step that will help to prevent harm and save lives.

Depending on how many violations a bar gets, the business could be fined anywhere between $50 to $15,000. The bill would also increase the cleansing period to 10 years from the first offense.

Reactions from students at LSU varied depending on who you asked.

“I don’t think that’s a very good idea because as a freshman, there’s not really much to do,” said one student. “We go to Tigerland a lot, and we go to different bars a lot just to hang out with our friends and what not, so I don’t think I would like that a lot.”

“I think, as someone from Wisconsin, that it should stay at 18,” said another student. “As a college student, I’d like to see what the bars are like around here. So, I think it should stay at 18. I think that a lot of kids my age would like it to stay the same.”

“I don’t know how popular it would be, but I think it would definitely help,” said a third student. “I know a majority of bars focus more on the 21 age limit but not necessarily in the area with a bunch of college students. It’s beneficial, I think, to slow down younger people coming in unprepared for the drinking culture. Especially in the Tigerland area and college bars. It’s very excessive.”

Lawmakers will return to the Louisiana State Capitol Monday, April 10, to begin debates.

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