Will Minnesota’s Drinking Age Be Lowered?

bar and restaurat drinking age

Debates over changing the legal drinking age in the state of Minnesota are surfacing yet again. Minnesota State Rep. Phyllis Kahn, who has tried time and time again—unsuccessfully—to lower the drinking age, is back with two new proposed bills and one major obstacle averted. Pioneer Press reports on Kahn’s crusade and belief that a lowered drinking age would help to deal with binge drinking among young people and college students.

The first of her two bills would lower the drinking age in bars and restaurants to 18; the second would allow those under 21 to drink in bars if restaurants if accompanied by a parent or guardian who is of age. Neither bill would allow those under 21 to make purchases at liquor stores.

The Supreme Court has ruled out a former law that once dictated states would lose ten percent of federal highway funding unless the drinking age moved to 21—a boon for Kahn’s prerogatives. Furthermore, Kahn has said that she not only has co-sponsors from both parties, but also at least one committee chair in the House and a senator willing to push her bills forward.

Despite some strides that have been made in Kahn’s favor, there is still much opposition to lowering the drinking age in Minnesota, including from the state’s own Governor Mike Dayton and University of Minnesota’s President Eric Kaler. Others, like House Commerce Chairman Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska, would lower the age to 19 only. [Pioneer Press][Photo: Flickr/Gary J Wood]