Bill would establish task force to study lowering age from 21

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Vermont lawmakers are considering a bill that could clear the way for lowering the legal drinking age.

The bill, introduced by state Senator Hinda Miller, would establish a study commission to weigh the pros and cons of a lower drinking age. Miller says she hasn’t decided whether it makes sense to lower the drinking age, but that current laws aren’t working in preventing underage drinking.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Vermont State Police and the state Liquor Control Board’s chief all say it’s a bad idea. They say the higher drinking age has saved lives on the highways, and that to reduce it would risk lives. They also say that lowering the drinking age would make access to booze even easier for young teenagers.

Lawmakers aren’t to that point yet. They say they want to study the issue to see if it’s feasible to let people younger than 21 drink.

A legislative committee yesterday approved the bill, which calls for a report back to the Legislature by January 2009.

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