Share This Page

New fee for underage drinking proposed

| Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, 9:54 p.m.

HARRISBURG — The sponsor of a new Pennsylvania law increasing maximum fines for underage drinking said on Monday that he plans to seek an additional financial penalty in the legislative session that starts next month.

The new law will boost the maximum fine for underage drinking from $300 to $500 and double the maximum for subsequent offenses to $1,000.

Even with those provisions taking effect Dec. 24, Sen. Jake Corman said he will resubmit a bill that would allow municipalities that include all or part of a university or college to impose a $100 fee for alcohol-related offenses to help finance local prevention programs. That bill died at the end of the last legislative session.

“Any time you talk about raising fees, people get nervous,” the Centre County lawmaker said when asked why the fee failed to gain support.

Corman says the higher fines going into effect later this month are designed to help communities such as State College, home to Penn State University, afford the spiraling cost of prosecuting alcohol-related crime and to discourage underage drinking.

Craig Summers, chief of police in Kutztown, said the maximum should be $1,000 even for a first offense.

“I don't think when underage people are drinking that they're even thinking about” the fine, Summers told The Morning Call in Allentown.

District Judge Donna Butler, who handles cases in a portion of Lehigh County, told the newspaper that a state judicial association suggested that the increased fine would have little effect on underage drinking.

“They're going to do their partying. I don't think it's much of a deterrent,” she said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.