Major loophole with minors drinking alcohol - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Major loophole with minors drinking alcohol

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JUNO BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Closing a legal loophole and holding adults accountable: that is what some Florida lawmakers say is issue "number one" in battling the temptations and the dangers of under age drinking.

It is against the law for adults in their homes to serve alcohol to minors, but would you believe it's not technically against the law to do the exact same thing in a park like Juno Beach like Juno Park?

"I think that it's ridiculous," said mom Kate Regalbuto. "It's absurd."

Right now, Florida law prohibits adults from providing alcohol to minors within a residence. What it doesn't prohibit is adults providing alcohol to minors at other locations, like state parks or vacant lots. "That's the whole idea of not being able to drink when you're under 21," said Regalbuto. "You shouldn't be able to do it anywhere."

That's why lawmakers across the state are working to strengthen the law that's already on the books.

Fox 29 spoke with District 85 Representative Patrick Rooney, a co-sponsor of the new bill. "This law will clarify that the parent, or irresponsible adult, is going to be in trouble for doing it," Rooney explained.

Some parents say that loophole never should have existed in the first place. "To have such an open loophole seems ludicrous to me," said dad David Voellinger.

Adults who've hosted parties where alcohol was served to minors have landed in trouble before.

In 2009, two Treasure Coast men were jailed after, investigators say, they allowed teens to drink alcohol at a party. Three of those teens died after crashing their Jeep into a front-end loader on Cove Road in Stuart.

Three years ago, in Boca Raton, two parents were charged after hosting a party with hundreds of teens from American Heritage School.

So now, from inside someone's home to outside in the community, a bigger picture push to battle under age drinking. "Yeah, you should close that loophole. It shouldn't have been there in the first place," said Voellinger.

If this legislation passes, adults who get caught hosting parties where alcohol is being served to minors - whether it's inside or outside the home - would face fines and jail time.

The new rules would take effect in the fall.

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