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Age 19 Drinking Bill Killed in South Dakota Legislature

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The South Dakota House Commerce Committee rejected a bill that would have lowered the state’s legal drinking age from 21 to 19, the Associated Press reported Feb. 22.

The measure went down to defeat on a 10-3 vote. Bill sponsor Rep. Tim Rounds had proposed allowing 19-year-olds to drink in certain clubs where only beer was sold, saying the measure would provide a controlled environment for young drinkers and cut down on drunk driving.

The bill was opposed by drug-control experts as well as those who noted that lowering the drinking age would cost South Dakota 10 percent of its federal highway funds under the Federal Minimum Drinking Act of 1984, which ties the funding to states adopting age-21 drinking laws.

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