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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Joe Brennan's Plan to Curb Underage Drinking

It happens nearly every Spring. At a time when new life is blossoming everywhere, many teen-aged children will be seriously injured or lose their lives because they drive drunk.

Thanks to Blue Coyote, I've learned that freshman state rep. Joe Brennan has proposed legislation that might just save a few lives. In Blue Coyote's words,
Brennan’s legislation (H.B 1512) would give establishments that utilize age verification devices a break on their annual liquor license renewal fee. “The whole goal here is to stop underage drinking before it starts,” Brennan said. “Too often kids under 21 are walking into bars, giving a fake ID and being served alcohol. This age verification technology can tell right away who is lying.”
Thanks, Joe.


Look Out Lehigh Valley said...

I commented to my friend today that Joe Brennan might be my favorite LV elected official. Not only do I find him to be well spoken and working on issues I think are important, but I see him out and about in the community more than any other rep (this might be chalked up partially to the fact that you can NOT miss him in a crowd). And I go out a LOT. That might seem like a small thing but it speaks volumes to me about his dedication to representing his district and being accessible to his constituents.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I first met Joe when he was on county council. Even back in those days, he was reform-oriented and a good government advocate. He's a class act who is the best of both worlds. He knows how Harrisburg works from his days w/ TJ. But he is most definitely advocates an open and accountable government. And he won't be there more than ten years. After that, he will launch his own blogging career.

What I like most about Joe is he is wicked funny, especially about himself.

Blue Coyote said...

In my blog, I was just showing some press releases that you just don't see in msm. I wanted to know what our Northampton County reps and senators are doing in Easton and Harrisburg, so I share that with others.

I agree with you Bernie. Joe was, is and will be a great member of our legislature. He cut his teeth early in politics and knows his stuff, whether you agree with him or not. I think he feels more comfortable in Harrisburg, then he does in Easton.

Anonymous said...

joe has character. he has been through the fire of personal ignominy, and what emerged from the flames was a better man than most of us. i am truly glad he's my state rep.

Anonymous said...

I wish Joe was "my" Representative but just across the Lehigh River from mine, who is also good, is fine! Joe will never "go along to get along" is my honest opinion! I'm very glad he kicked Severson candidate's ass, especially after, you guessed it, another very dirty "untrue" attack campaign. I simply will never understand why anybody ever pays the big bucks they do for twisted consultant advice, who know zero about human beings and/or "real" public service! I've been giving candidate's FREE advice and support for decades! I will bet that I have more local winners than Severson and my integrity is still in tact, to boot! Anybody want to pay me for advice or public service? My grandkids need shoes! larry@kisslinger.com

Anonymous said...

The simple way to determine your age,is a instalation of a chip , like animals. It should be law that when a child is say 5 years old a chip be implanted with his/or her date of birth. The concept is so simple I amaze myself.

Bernie O'Hare said...

And the chip could be designed to emit an electric shock every time we say a naughty word.

Anonymous said...

Big Deal. Feel good proposed legislation that will do absolutely nothing to curb an age old vice. Underage drinking has been going on since prohibition and the establishment of minimum ages. I find it discraceful that an 18 year old can go die in Iraq, but can't dring a beer. Instead of worrying about drinking, perhaps Brennan ought to do something about real estate taxes and the forcing of Seniors out of their homes by the increases. While Joe is a great guy, I have frankly heard nothing out of his office. Sorry, just my opine.

Anonymous said...

Is this a push / endorsement for a higher office? Dent / Boscola?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:41PM said: I find it discraceful that an 18 year old can go die in Iraq, but can't dring a beer. Sorry, just my opine.

"discraceful, die in Iraq, dring, and my opine."????

I can't believe anyone can spell so poorly and also think a State Rep. has anything to do with a War!

Whenever you wish to opine, you may want to use a dictionary and seek some advice about duties of elected officials.

Honorable Rep. Joe Brennan's proposed legislation, described here, deserves support from all of us, is my opinion.

Anonymous said...


Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 10:41,

Hold on, bippy! You want to minimize drinking? That's a pretty big killer. Booze and drugs also keep our prisons well-stocked. You slam this proposed legislation, complaining it won't accomplish anything. Frankly, that's bullshit.

It just won't accomplish what you want, and that's tax relief for seniors. That's important, but so is this.

This legislation is aimed at curbing, not preventing, underage drinking. It is also voluntary. The barkeep gets a break if he uses the devise. It certainly will deter minors from trying to get served in bars that have them. It will probably even save a few lives.

That makes it worth it. It's much more than "feel good" legislation. If you doubt this, try visiting the family of a young man who is involved in a horrible accident caused by underage drinking. That happened to my son's best friend a few years ago. That boy would have been a major league ball player, and now he walks with a limp and one of his arms is useless. Had this been in place, it might not have happened.

Like most of the new guys, Brennan has ideas for property tax reform. Unlike most of the new guys, he hit the ground running. If anyone can con those cons into doing the right thing, it's Brennan. Remember he's only been there 6 months.

You're right to demand this new crowd had better produce, but Joe knows that.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 11:27,

No. I don't think Brennan has any intention of going anywhere except where he is right now. And frankly, that's where he can do the most good.

I posted this because I saw it listed in Blue Coyote's blog, and I wanted to share it. It's good legislation, and I am glad Blue Coyote has taken the trouble to note it.

And I honestly don't even know if Brennan lives in Boscola's district, although I sure hope he does.

Anonymous said...

So let me understand this. Real criminals you like and people who swear on blogs and rant and rave you don't like. There are lots of others who do good in the community who you lambaste on a daily basis. Brennan, no, w ehave a reformed criminal representing us but that is ok. I love puppies.

Anonymous said...

Tax breaks for establishments THAT FOLLOW THE LAW?

Better idea - mandatory 6 month imprisonment for any bartender who serves a minor and 6 months for the OWNER of the establishment as well.

Anonymous said...

... and you don't even want to hear my thoughts about driving while under the influence....

Anonymous said...

anon 8:39 -- your orchidectomy is showing

Anonymous said...

hey 8:39 --- was Brennan ever CONVICTED of a crime?

or, in your worldview, is anybody who is accused automatically guilty?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 10:17, That's not a better idea. It's just the same old tactic that never really works.

You're never going to stop teens from experimenting w/ booze. The better approach is to try and prevent it from being a problem. The idea of a tax break for a barkeep who installs this kind of device appeals to his pocket book and serves society by stopping some kids from drinking.

The approach you suggest is just another draconian measure that accomplishes nothing. The barkeep will just argue, as he does now, that he had no criminal intent because he thought the minor was of age. It sounds good, and tough, too. But it means nothing.

Anonymous said...

I wish anon's would stop "repeating" Severson/Rybak lies about Brennan!

Why not stick to Joe's proposed legislation?
Crime prevention is much better than any time in prison "after" any crime. Go figure.

Joe lives with wife & kids in Ft. Hill!

Two PA elected officials serving
FOUNTAIN HILL BOROUGH 133rd District Rep. Joseph F. Brennan (D) 18th Senate District Senator Lisa M. Boscola (D) larry@kisslinger.com

Anonymous said...

Larry Kisslinger said: I wish anon's would stop "repeating" Severson/Rybak lies about Brennan! [end quote]

While the Rybak mailers were certainly distasteful and irrelevant, they were true. Even Brennan will admit that the attack ads were more or less factual; they said he was arrested, not that he was convicted. Joe is a now changed man, has given up drinking and is doing a great job as my state rep. Enough said on the Rybak mailer mess.

This plan of Brennan's has some real merit, although I do have some concern about the approved vendors for the age verification systems.


Anonymous said...

anon 11:58 AM "Rybak/Severson mailers- more or less factual;" Are you kidding "more or less"? The intent was to smear another person is proven by numbskulls here calling Joe a criminal w/o substantiation.
Therefore, negative "insinuation" attacks are ok with numbskulls who believe they know the truth since they saw a bullshit piece of mail! My advice is candidate's stick to issues & never personal attack "insinuation" crap!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe the attitude some paople have about drinking. Anon said "Instead of worrying about drinking"????? So the lives lost because of drunk driving are not as important as real estate taxes? As someone who recently lost a young family member to a drunk driver I am insulted at this. I hope you never have to go through what my family has gone through this past year. I think the chip idea is a lot like Big Brother, and I don't agree with that. But I think one thing that would work is a device that prevents a car from starting when a drunk puts the keys in the ignition. We have this technology. It could have saved my loved one's life. Thanks Joe Brennan for working on this very important issue.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 8:39 & Cindy,

1) I like both Brennan and Bernie Kieklak.

2. Brennan has been involved in two minor manners. He has provided details about both of them, and there never was a criminal conviction. One matter never got past the magistrate.

3. For one of the incidents, in which he defended a young lady who was being abused, I'd give him a medal. I pulled the records of that incident many years ago, and saw what happened for myself.

4. The Severson mailer was misleading, and it must have been provided for free. Rybak acknowledged he was using Severson, but no payments to Severson appear on Rybak's campaign finance report. it doesn't appear as an in kind contribution either. Severson fiolled out no independent expenditure report either, even though that mailer cost money. So who violated the law?

5. Although I liike Bernie K, I don't like sexism, misogyny, anti-Catholicism or the complete lack of contrition he displayed. Boscola has proved herself an enabler by sticking with him.

Anonymous said...


Bernie, I fully agree, but as long as "we" think we can use prohibition to curb folks' excesses, then we should be serious about it.

I have traveled extensively to countries where alcohol use is considered acceptable without state intervention and I am impressed by the fact that rates of abuse/alcoholism are lower. AS with other illegal drugs, if we prohibit folks, we increase the appeal and thus incur consequences which are the precise opposite of what was originally intended.

If PA seriously wants to curb drunken driving and sales to minors, then we must treat the crime seriously.

The fact remains that if you treat folks like adults, most of them will act like adults. Treat folks like children and you will have significant bunches who wet the bed.

What irritates me the most is paying lip service to a system that threatens punishment and then looks the other way when transgressions occur. Joe's idea is interesting and I laud him for his leadership... but you know as well as I that it is an empty gesture - in result if not in intent - and the last thing we need is a legislature wasting their time on problems they really have no intention of solving.

Ultimately, substance abuse is a health problem. Over and over again we have seen that any other measures taken to address it are useless.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 12:29,

As an alkie, I'll agree completely with most of what you say. Substance abuse is primarily a health problem.

Ironically, the one substance that does the most damage, booze, is the one that is legal.

Unfortunately, when people go to jail for offenses related to substance abuse, there is almost no treatment for what really is a medical problem.

Anonymous said...

I like Joe Brennan and believe he will do a good job for his constituents. And, good grief, I'm registered Republican.

Blah Society said...

His plan sounds logical. But, would a decrease in the renewal fee mean some type of tax increase overall on alcohol to make up the difference?

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's always a possible. But if this plan works, it will result in less costs overall. The demand on municipal and state resources for enforcing DUI might diminish.

J. SPIKE ROGAN said...

isn't it only a matter of time untill the conterfiters learn how to program fake id's as well?

On paper its a good idea. But in reality nothing will ever put a end to underage drinking and fake ids.

Blue Coyote said...

This legislation is not a panacea, but if Joe's proposal saves the life of just one teenager, then the legislation is worth it. I don't care how many naysayers comment. I've seen too many DUI victims in my lifetime. I can deal with one less victim.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Me, too, Blue Coyote.

Anonymous said...