Scroll down for a link to the committee currently up for review of this bill so you can contact them to ask for their vote in favor of the bill.
Why do we need this Social Host bill?
Right here in Tennessee, kids are dying from underage alcohol consumption. Lucas Davis, a 16-year-old Brentwood High School football player, died of alcohol poisoning on October 7, 2018, after, what appeared to be, an overnight party with friends in a field behind a home in Brentwood. Later, charges were brought against an adult in connection with his death. Casey Shacklett was charged with 16 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Another teen, Will Caver, a graduate of Montgomery Bell Academy, drowned in Charlotte during an overnight party with friends on a property there on August 2, 2019. Two adults were charged in connection with that case, for unlawfully purchasing alcohol for a minor and allowing underage adults to consume alcoholic beverages,
Adults who act as Social Hosts, allowing those under 21 to drink, should be held more accountable. They are putting our kids at risk and, as has been made clear in recent months, the danger in teen drinking is very real. Teen alcohol use kills 4,300 people each year. Approximately 68% of these deaths are due to incidents other than traffic related fatalities, such as alcohol poisoning, falls, drowning, and suicide. In addition, teens who engage in underage drinking and drug use are at a higher risk for other dangers such as date rape and acts of violence.
Social Host bill HB1558 (Zachary)/ SB1605 (Briggs) expands the age range from “underage adult” to “minor” in the Class A misdemeanor offense of an owner of property knowingly allowing an underage person to consume alcohol. This bill also makes the offense a Class E felony if the owner is a social host.
Under present law, it is a Class A misdemeanor for an owner, occupant, or other person having a right to exclusive use of property to knowingly allow an “underage adult” (a person aged older than 18 but younger than 21) to consume alcohol on the property. This bill broadens the application of the Class A misdemeanor to “minors,” here meaning any person under age 21.
This bill also creates a Class E felony for when the owner, occupant, or other person is a social host and knowingly allows a minor to consume alcohol on the premises. This bill defines social host as a person who, by express or implied invitation, invites one or more persons to the host’s residence or property for a social gathering. For the purposes of this bill, a social gathering is any assembly of two or more persons for any purpose unless all persons are members of the same household or immediate family (so, if the violation is committed by allowing consumption by minors who are members of the household or immediate family members, the offense will still be a Class A misdemeanor instead of a Class E felony).
What can I do to help the Social Host bill become a law?
But for this bill to become law, we will need your support! On the road to becoming a law, there are several committees through which the bill must pass before it is even eligible to go before the full House and/or Senate to be voted into law. Please bookmark this page and follow us on our @MADDTennessee Facebook page for updates about the progress of the bill and who we need you to contact to let your voice be heard. YOU can help make this law a reality by emailing committee members and your own legislators telling them that you want them to vote in favor of this bill! Keep reading for instructions on who to contact, when, and even ideas of what to say.
Where is this bill currently in the process?
Below this road map which shows how far along we are in the process, you’ll find a link to the committee currently up for review of the bill.
Who do I contact to ask them to vote in favor of this bill and when?
Under “Committee Member Links” below you can see which committee is currently reviewing the bill. Look for our note that says “PLEASE EMAIL THIS COMMITTEE NOW.” Then click the link to get the list of committee members and email each member to ask for their support.
Committee Member Links
House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee members list – To be reviewed 3/18/20– PLEASE EMAIL THIS COMMITTEE NOW.
Senate Judiciary Committee members list – To be reviewed 3/17/20 – PLEASE EMAIL THIS COMMITTEE NOW.
House Judiciary Committee members list – Passed in the committee 3/4/20
House Criminal Justice Subcommittee members list – Passed in this committee 2/19/20
What should I say when asking legislators to vote in favor of this bill?
Not sure what to say exactly? We have a sample of text below that you can copy and paste to use in your email if you’d like. Use it as it is, or adjust the wording as needed to personalize it and let the legislator know why this bill means something to you, and why you’d like to see it become law in Tennessee. Just be sure you include bill number, HB1558 (Zachary)/ SB1605 (Briggs), in your email.
Sample Email Text
Dear Sir or Madame,
I am writing to ask you to support HB1558 (Zachary)/ SB1605 (Briggs) regarding Social Host law. I believe adults who act as Social Hosts by allowing our kids who are under 21 to drink should be held more accountable. I am outraged to hear that Tennessee teens have died in recent months in incidents connected to adults who allowed teens to drink on their property. This is a serious crime with serious consequences and I believe our laws should be changed to reflect this, in hopes of deterring further incidents that put our kids at risk! I hope I can count on your vote in favor of passing this legislation so that it becomes law.