Senator Martin Looney
Connecticut Democrat Majority Leader Martin Looney goes after alcohol.
Martin Looney, Majority Leader of the Connecticut Senate, introduced legislation today that would impose new controls on liquor sales and possession of alcohol in private homes and businesses.
“Approximately 80,000 deaths are attributable to excessive alcohol use each year in the United States,” Looney declared at a press conference this morning, citing Center for Disease Control statistics. “Although that number pales against the 443,000 deaths caused by smoking, it is more than 5X the 14,000 homicides caused by firearms. My bill to confiscate firearms is on its way to passage by our legislature and my proposal to quadruple the tax on cigarettes will end smoking within 15 years. With those two goals accomplished, it is time now to turn our attention to alcohol, the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death for the nation. Excessive alcohol use is responsible for 2.3 million years of potential life lost annually, or an average of about 30 years of potential life lost for each death. In 2006, there were more than 1.2 million emergency room visits and 2.7 million physician office visits due to excessive drinking, while the economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2006 were estimated at $223.5 billion. This has to stop, now.”
Looney’s proposed bill would affect alcohol sales and possession in a myriad of ways, including:
• The sale of beer in containers larger than 12-oz bottles or cans is prohibited; sales shall be limited to one six-pack per month.
• Hard liquor shall be sold in no container larger than 16 oz.; sales shall be limited to one quart per month.
• Possession of alcohol in private residences home shall be restricted to registered, licensed consumers only, with a mandatory background check before issuance or any such license. Felons, persons having ever been adjudged mentally ill or convicted of domestic abuse or driving while intoxicated shall be barred from purchasing, possessing or consuming alcohol. Proof of registration must be provided at all points of sale of alcohol including retail establishments, restaurants, bars and private clubs.
• The sale, transfer or gift of alcohol to an unregistered consumer shall be a felony punishable by a fine not exceeding $100,000 and a prison term of not less than one and not more than five years, with a one year mandatory term.
• All liquor in a private residence shall be stored in a locked cabinet or safe, with annual inspections of all such liquor storage units to be performed by the Connecticut State Police or by such liquor control officers as the state police may designate.
• Importation of alcohol from outside the state of Connecticut or interstate online sales are prohibited.
• A new tax of $2 per oz. of alcohol, beer or spirits or wine, will be imposed beginning January 1, 2014. Proceeds of said tax shall be divided, 50% to the state’s general fund, 50% to alcohol cessation programs and repayment of the health costs incurred by municipal hospitals in treating alcoholics.
• All registered alcohol consumers shall provide proof, each calendar year, of a liquor liability insurance policy in the face amount of not less than one million dollars.
“This is just a start”, Looney vowed, “and we will be adding more restrictions as we develop this bill with our fellow Democrats. These are the exact restrictions we are imposing on gun owners after the tragedy of Sandy Hook – yes, a few of them have complained, but not all, and certainly not the majority of our citizens, who recognize these as just common sense regulations that will eliminate the carnage so prevalent in modern society. And while I recognize that these restrictions may seem onerous and even expensive to some state residents, I remind them that drinking is a privilege, not a right: if we can save a family from destruction, a woman from being beaten, if we can save the life of just one child, is any price too high?”
Looney invited all those with questions or comments about his bill to call his district office at 203-468-8829.