A new keg law will go into effect Nov. 1, and the sentiment at Eastern Michigan University appears to be split. The statewide law will require retailers to tag each purchased keg with the buyers name, address, phone number and driver’s license number.
The tags, which are said to aid police officers specifically in deterring underage drinking, will carry a misdemeanor charge if removed. This charge could result in up to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Upon purchasing a keg, a customer will have to fill out paperwork claiming full liability for the alcoholic beverage within.
With the paperwork signed, the signature owner will then be held accountable for any minors caught by authorities consuming the alcoholic beverage.
Consumers who attempt to return tag-less kegs will forfeit their $30 deposit and could be subject to an investigation.
Retailers won’t be charged for the tags, but the Liquor Control Commission will be keeping a close eye on whether or not they’re used. If a keg is found to be tagless, it will incur a $50 fee.
Typically weighing 90-170 pounds, the kegs, with added responsibility and hefty fines, now seem much heavier to some students.
Corinne Ross, a senior studying marketing at EMU, was one of them.
“Well that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” Ross said. “Why should the responsibility only be on one person?”
While some students who attend parties were against the new rules, some of the students who have parties weren’t opposed. Senior Tyler Klenow, a Delta Sigma Phi member and advocate for renter responsibility, is one of them.
“Our fraternity is not allowed to have kegs in our house or on our property because they are such a big liability for the renter because of common source violations when minors are involved,” he said. “And that is where my brothers and I think the liability should stay, with the renter. When you use or acquire services you are responsible for the users or consumers of the service.”
There were also a number of students who remained relatively neutral. In not being outspokenly for or against the laws, they had a different view in which they spoke from educational standpoints and referenced a bigger picture.
“Underage drinking and the health issues that come with it are an issue, mainly due to a lack of experience, knowledge and learning in the appropriate environment,” senior Robert Morford said. “Kegs are only a small part of this problem and the stickers seem like the easy way out. What’s to keep a minor from getting their hands on a can of beer instead of a keg of beer? Do the stickers combat the real problem?”
It’s arguable who will benefit the most from these laws, either student’s livelihoods or public authorities. But from an educational standpoint, the new law is working, at least for the moment. It’s forcing people to assess what laws are currently implemented, and to discuss the new law and the related underage drinking problem publicly.
Officer Candace Dorsey of EMU’s Police Department also believes the law is partly being enacted for educational purposes.
“I don’t know if this new keg law will be a deterrent for underage drinkers, although they certainly are a target,” she said. “I would think that part of this new keg law is to simply educate people.”
City officials and police officers in East Lansing claim the new law will help save lives.
Several area liquor stores questioned about the law would not comment.