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Strong Beer Bill Hits Snag

July 12, 2005 - A measure that would "pop the cap" on the amount of alcohol North Carolina allows in beer has hit a snag.

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The bill to raise the limit from 6% to 15% passed the House and faced little opposition in the Senate's Commerce Committee, but ran into trouble on the Senate floor. Opponents said stronger beers would enhance underage drinking and drunken driving.

"It doesn't make sense to me that we should try to perpetrate this on our children," said Sen. John Kerr, a Goldsboro Democrat. He likened the stronger beer to "drinking straight vodka." Vodka typically has 30% to 60% alcohol.

Kerr eventually forced the bill to be withdrawn from the calendar by asking for a fiscal note, a written explanation of how this change in law would affect state finances. He also asked that the bill be referred to the Finance Committee, of which he is one of the co-chairmen.

Sen. Tony Rand, a Fayetteville Democrat and the Senate majority leader, argued for the bill Thursday and said he was confident it would be heard before the end of the summer.


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