Md. Bill Allowing Lower Drinking Age for Military Members Dies i - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Md. Bill Allowing Lower Drinking Age for Military Members Dies in Committee

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)
 ANNAPOLIS, Md.- Maryland legislators have rejected a bill that would lower the drinking age for military members on active duty.

The Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee did not pass Senate Bill 213, a measure that would allow military members, at least 18 years old with a valid military identification card, to purchase beer or wine.

Maryland Sen. Ronald Young proposed the bill. Ray McGinnis of Delmar, Del. is an Army veteran who sees no problem with making the change in Maryland.

"We couldn't drink when we were in the Army, but I think if they are old enough to go to war, they are old enough to drink," McGinnis said.

Garth Messinger agrees.

"If you're old enough to die for your country, you should be old enough to get a beer in your country,” Messinger said.

Several people were not comfortable speaking against the proposal to WBOC, but opponents on the state level say changing the law could complicate matters.

The Maryland Comptroller's Office estimates that, based on the Active Duty Military Strength Report released on Dec. 31, 2014, there could be as many as 21,107 active duty members of the US Armed Forces who are older than 18 and younger than 21.

According to the bill, the state could lose 10 percent of federal highway funding if SB 213 passed; that means the Maryland Department of Transportation could lose $30.7 million annually.

Without a waiver, the state would be incompliance with The Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act of 1984, which requires states to have laws that prohibit the purchase or possession of any alcoholic beverage by a person who is younger than age 21.

According to the bill, the state would acquire an additional $531,000 annually, if the measure passed.
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