Florida State Legislative Session 2011
HB 105: Open House Party Bill - Provides for increased penalties for violations of open house parties and where serious bodily injury or death results. This bill was sponsored by Rep. Tom Goodson (R), Titusville. HB 105 was passed and signed into law in 2011. The Florida Coalition for Alcohol Policy(FCAP) and substance abuse prevention coalitions throughout Florida advocated for this bill, For more information on FCAP, Go to Florida Coalition for Alcohol Policy.
Local Alcohol Policy
On the local level, several coalitions were successful in advocating for alcohol-related ordinances:
Type of Ordinance County or City
Watch this video produced by Mothers Against Drunk Driving Florida to support the ignition interlock legislation: Grace's Law
Gaps In Florida Alcoholic Beverage Laws
21 and up Patron Age Restriction
Did you know that it is legal for 18 year olds to hang out in bars in Florida? This puts underage people in a high risk environment where they may have easy access to alcoholic beverages. 14 cities and counties in Florida have enacted ordinances to restrict bar patrons to ages 21 and up. Recent cities to adopt an ordinance are: Boca Raton, Broward, Palm Beach County, Venice (see the City of Venice ordinance) Cape Coral and Sunrise. Ft. Lauderdale's patron age restriction ordinance has been in effect since 2001. The Ft. Lauderdale Police Department reported a 34% decrease in crime in the entertainment district after the ordinance was enforced. Manatee County and the City of Sarasota recently enacted 21 age restriction ordinances. On February 28, 2007, the Sarasota County Commission held a public forum to discuss a 21 age restriction ordinance on. MADD and TAC made presentations in support of the ordinance. The commissioners voted unanimously to enact a ban on minors in bars
On May 23, 2007 the Sarasota County Commission voted unanimously in favor of the ordinance. The Tampa Alcohol Coalition advocates for a 21 and up patron age restriction ordinance for bars in Hillsborough County and for the entire state.
Drink Specials Restriction
Florida is one of 11 states that doesn't have any statutes or rules restricting drink specials. The "High Risk Drinking on College Campuses" White Paper by the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Commission provides an overview of the problems associated with drink specials, a table that lists the type of drink special regulations in each state and the actual state statutes and rules. "Select State Laws Governing On-Premises Alcohol Sales", a report by the National Restaurant Association, summarizes happy hour laws for all 50 states. TAC endorses restricting drink specials because cheap drink specials promote irresponsible drinking, intoxication and DUI.. Tampa bars offer specials such as "ladies drink free", "kill the keg", and "all you can drink for $10". These promotions can lead to alcohol-related crashes and other tragedies.
The Tampa Tribune reported on September 14, 2006 that former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio supports ending cheap and free drink specials in Tampa. The St. Petersburg Times ran a story entitled: "Last Call for Drink Specials?" which discussed irresponsible bar promotions and ways to stop them. The Tampa City Attorney wrote a memorandum of law and sent a letter asking for a Florida Attorney General Opinion on the ability of a city or county to enact a drink special ordinance. In November 2006, the Attorney General's office asked the Department of Business and professional regulations to give the opinion. DBPR sent a letter to the Tampa City Attorney that said cities do not have the ability to adopt drink special ordinances in Florida. The City may get a second opinion. For more details, see Tampa Tribune article "City Can't Dry Up Drink Specials".
TAC supports local and state legislation to stop irresponsible drink specials. The Florida Senate Regulated Industries Committee proposed an underage drinking bill (S 7056) in January 2007 that included language to allow municipalities to regulate drink specials. On February 20th, an amendment by Senator Haridopolos removed the drink special language. TAC and Florida MADD have requested that language allowing cities to adopt an ordinance to restrict drink specials be added back to the bill, but this request was not honored. A bill to allow cities to restrict Drink Specials will be developed for the 2008 legislative session.
Law Against Serving Intoxicated Persons
Did you know that Florida is one of only three states that does not have a law prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages to intoxicated persons. States that lack laws restricting drink specials and lack laws prohibiting sales to intoxicated persons may have higher rates of binge drinking, impaired driving, alcohol poisoning, blackouts, violence, assaults, alcohol-related injuries and fatalities. A state law against selling or serving alcohol to intoxicated persons would help promote responsible beverage service. For more information on this topic, read "Preventing the Over-consumption of Alcohol: Sales to the Intoxicated and Happy Hour Laws", a research paper published by NHTSA in February 2005. TAC supports adopting a law against serving intoxicated people.
Community Resource: Keg Registration Fact Sheet
What are the Current Alcoholic Beverage Laws and Ordinances?
To find out what your existing local alcoholic beverage ordinances are, go to www.municode.com and click on "on-line library," then click on "Florida," "alcoholic beverage code". Florida's state alcoholic beverage laws can be found on the Department of Business and Professional Regulation web site.
Strategies to Reduce Underage Drinking
For more strategies to reduce underage alcohol use, visit the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center To learn more about Tampa Alcohol Coalition's strategies to reduce underage drinking, view the TAC PowerPoint presentation that was given at the 2006 Florida Statewide Prevention Conference.
Two helpful publications on environmental strategies are:
Do you drink too much? Find out by taking this quiz. Click on "Is my drinking risky?":
Tampa Alcohol Coalition is a subcommittee of the Hillsborough County Anti Drug Alliance.
Do you have questions about Tampa Alcohol Coalition or comments on this web site? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org