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Community vocal about alcohol legislation

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - With cheers from the public hearing room, all 15 senators voted in favor of legislation that raises the legal drinking age on Guam from 18 to 21.  Bill 389 was named after Ramon Oberiano, who was riding his bike along Marine Corps Drive in Piti when he was killed by a drunk driver in 2006.

His mother Florita was among the crowd at the Guam Legislature in Hagatna this afternoon, watching lawmakers vote.  "I think it is very good because at least the younger people will not drink too much," she told KUAM News.

Others, however, were opposed to Bill 389, like Alex Duenas, who said, "It's just going to send drinking underground to private parties beaches were alcohol will not be controlled."

Senators meanwhile also voted in favor of passing Bill 356, which would change the hours of when alcohol can be sold; specifically after 2 in the morning and 8am.  The bill narrowly passed, the vote was 8-to-7. Senator Telo Taitague was one of the lawmakers who voted against the legislation that she called "extreme", noting, "This just doesn't affect individual club owners or bars, but this also affects the musicians out there. It's very rare that you find a live band in clubs, and the only reason they can do this is because the bars are going to pay them, so they need the extra hours."

Bill 357 also passed, which would stiffen penalties and fines for those caught selling alcohol after hours. The bills now head to Adelup for the governor's review.

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