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CA joins campaign to thwart underage drinking

August 19, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill that will add California to the states in which adults can be held legally responsible if they provide alcohol to minors in social settings. The bill would apply to adults who knowingly allow minors to drink alcohol in their home. They could then be held liable if the alcohol is found to be the main cause of injury or death.

On Thursday, a sting operation in Orange County took place at liquor stores to crack down on underage drinking.

"That person is cited on the spot and that person is looking at a $1,000 fine and 24 to 32 hours of community service," said John Carr of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

The investigation was part of a field operation by ABC . They visited nine locations. One store was caught selling alcohol to a minor and three people were arrested.

"The decoy stands outside, hits everyone that comes up and says I am not 21, the clerk will not sell me alcohol, will you buy me some beer? "said Deputy Chief Investigator Rick Ryan.

A spokesman for the governor said Schwarzenegger believes those adults put both the community and minor at risk.

It already was illegal to give alcohol to minors. But the group Consumer Attorneys of California said California had been one of just three states that prohibited civil lawsuits even in cases ending with teenage deaths.

"We just want to get the message out loud and clear," Carr said. "Just say no. Don't give alcohol to minors."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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