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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Power hours’ could be banned

    No Anchovies employees Steve Romo front, Steven Massani, Steven Elsworth, Bobbi Duffik and Jason Greenway compete in an Irish car-bomb drinking game at the pizzeria yesterday afternoon. The Arizona Legislature is considering a bill that would ban the power hour.
    No Anchovies employees Steve Romo front, Steven Massani, Steven Elsworth, Bobbi Duffik and Jason Greenway compete in an Irish car-bomb drinking game at the pizzeria yesterday afternoon. The Arizona Legislature is considering a bill that would ban the power hour.

    A bill in the Arizona House of Representatives is aiming to change the legal drinking age to 8 a.m. of a person’s 21st birthday, a move that would eliminate “”power hours.””

    “”Power hours,”” which are between 12 a.m. and 2 a.m. in Tucson, are considered a traditional rite of passage for 21-year-olds, when they drink as much alcohol as possible before “”last call.””

    Legal drinking age is defined by House Bill 2660 as “”the age of 21 years or older, except that a person is not of legal drinking age until 8 a.m. on the day of that person’s birthday.””

    “”I think it’s stupid,”” said Mike Veth, bartender at Trident Grill, 2033 E. Speedway Blvd., which permits people to start drinking at midnight on their 21st birthday. “”Our drinking laws are the most archaic in the world.””

    Veth said he believes the laws are designed to make bar owners and employees responsible for controlling their customers – when it should be up to individuals to control themselves.

    “”They’re going to get themselves hammered and make themselves sick if there is a law or not.””
    – Rachel Allocco, journalism senior

    Other states have passed similar “”power hour”” laws. In Minnesota, the bill passed in 2005.

    Rachel Allocco, a journalism senior who turned 21 in August, said she was vacationing in Minnesota at the time but the law did not bother her.

    “”The way most of my friends got around it is they drove 45 minutes to Wisconsin,”” Allocco said.

    But power-hour problems occur when people over-drink on their birthdays.

    An estimated 1,700 student deaths were related to alcohol every year and 599,000 injuries were alcohol-related, according to a 2005 college task report to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

    Some Tucson bars, including O’Malley’s, 247 N. Fourth Ave., and Maloney’s Tavern, 213 N. Fourth Ave., do not permit 21-year-olds until the first full day of their birthday.

    At Maloney’s, it is corporate policy to turn people away at midnight on their 21st birthday, said manager Kiki Kirchoffner. However, they usually tell patrons what bars they can go to celebrate their power hours.

    “”Honestly, if it was me, I would want to go out if I was turning 21,”” Kirchoffner said. “”It gives us less places to send people.””

    Other bar representatives said the new law would not impact them.

    “”I’ll do whatever the law says,”” said Jill Vancza, co-owner of Che’s Lounge, 346 N. Fourth Ave., which allows new 21-year-olds into the bar at midnight. “”If you turn 18, do you have to wait ’til 8 a.m. to vote?””

    Although the bill aims to prevent alcohol poisoning, some people feel the new bill is not the answer.

    “”They’re going to drink no matter what,”” Allocco said. “”They’re going to get themselves hammered and make themselves sick if there is a law or not.””

    Tina Ceccato, a molecular and cellular biology junior who turned 21 Feb. 1, agreed.

    “”It doesn’t matter if you get drunk at midnight or the next day because people are still going to do it,””

    Ceccato said. “”I just went out with my friends – I didn’t get crazy.””

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