Md. House committee votes out underage drinking bill

WASHINGTON — The Maryland House Judiciary Committee gave a favorable vote to a bill that would increase the penalties for parents who allow underage drinking in their homes.

House Bill 409 has been dubbed “Alex and Calvin’s Law” by supporters. It was named for Alex Murk and Calvin Li, two Montgomery County 18-year-olds who died in a crash after leaving a home where underage drinking was allowed by a parent. That parent was cited and fined — the extent of the penalty under current law.

The bill calls for doubling the current fine of $2,500 for the first offense and adds possible jail time: one year for the first offense, two years for a second offense.

Kurt Erikson, with the Washington Regional Alcohol Program, which has championed the law, says the bill has been amended by the committee, to remove jail time for “furnishing” alcohol. That’s the crime of providing or supplying the alcohol. The possible jail time penalty would still exist for anyone who allowed their home to be used as a site for an underage drinking party.

The Senate version of the bill has already been unanimously passed.

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