Springfield Voters Approve Ban on Minors in Bars
Springfield voters overwhelmingly approved a ban on minors in bars and nightclubs. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.
Shelton: The ballot measure establishes fine and prison time for minors caught in businesses that mostly sell alcohol...that includes bars and nightclubs.
Springfield physician Jim Blaine spearheaded the campaign to get the ban passed...We spoke last night after the results of the election were in.
Blaine: Most people were surprised to learn that minors were allowed in bars. We made a good case for the scientific basis for this. Underage drinking is a huge problem. It accounts for four time more deaths than all illegal drugs combined.
Shelton: Let me ask you to respond to the idea that this will drive young people into private homes where they'll drink alcohol.
Blaine: The options are always going to be there. The DWI Task Force has been in existence for 16 years. We've significantly decreased the number of DWI-related crashes through our efforts. There's always going to be the option to drink when you're underage. But we think this will reduce underage drinking. It's been shown to in other communities. As far as going out to other places, house parties, fields, etc. it's our due diligence to deal with that as well.
Shelton: Opposition to the ban came from various downtown businesses and the Urban Districts Alliance, an organization that promotes the development of downtown Springfield. Rusty Worley is the executive director of the UDA.
Worley: This measure is not going to be effective as many had hoped it would be because of the definitions and how cover charges are treated. We need those definitions modified and that's going to be a cumbersome process.
Shelton: What impact will this have on downtown?
Worley: It won't have the impact that was forecast because the definitions are not well spelled out. Right now, we have 9 establishments have applied for a permit, of those 4 are downtown so that would tell us that 4 will be affected. The vast majority won't.
Shelton: The proposal voters approved last night sets out perameters for whether or not a particular establishment is impacted by this ban. Any chance there's an opportunity to compromise on this?
Worley: We need to look at the percentage but the only way for that to happen is by a unanimous vote by city council or having another election to modify what happened tonight. Neither can happen for at least 6 months. So we're looking for very little change over the next 6 months.
Shelton: Again, Springfield voters overwhelmingly approved a ban on minors entering bars and nightclubs.