News 4 Investigates received calls from several people over the last few weeks, who were concerned about underage drinking. They told us similar stories about going to local clubs and seeing very young people who were drinking. They didn't have proof that some of the customers they saw, were under 21, but highly suspected they were. News 4 Investigates decided to take a look. We sent a KMOV employee with a hidden camera, into several clubs and restaurants in the St. Louis area. At one of the clubs, several of the customers told our employee that they were underage. They said they were drinking tequila and that this particular club was known as a place where people under 21 could go to drink.
We took our video to St. Louis Excise Commissioner Robert Kraiberg. That division of the city's Department of Public Safety, reviews, approves and regularly monitors the compliance of all liquor licenses in the City of St. Louis. Mr. Kraiberg told us that he was very familiar with the club and that his investigators would be watching it closely in the future.
Concerns about underage drinking are behind a proposed new law in Missouri. You may not know this, but there's no law that sets a minimum age for going into a bar in both Missouri and Illinois. When you see signs prohibiting minors, it's merely a rule set by that business. Some clubs market themselves as 18 and older businesses that allow anyone 18 and up to go inside. There's concern allowing customers too young to drink, inside a drinking establishment will inevitably lead to underage drinking. Researchers say underage drinking takes a heavy toll in Missouri. State Representative Ryan Silvey, of Kansas City, is proposing a law that would prohibit anyone under 21 from going into a "drinking establishment." He told News 4, if the primary purpose of a business was to sell alcohol, then people who aren't old enough to buy it, should not be allowed to go into that business. His proposal is HB 364.
News 4 Investigates would like to know what you think about HB 364.