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Hawaii proposal: If clerk believes customers is 21+, no ID required for alcohol

HONOLULU — Under a new proposal in the Hawaii Legislature, if a sales clerk believes a person is over 21, then the clerk won’t need to ask them for an ID during alcohol transactions.

Sen. Les Ihara, who represents Kaimuki and Kapuhulu proposed the bill. He told KHON there needs to be no shadow of doubt in the sales clerk’s mind that a person is over the age of 21.

“The standard is clear and convincing evidence, so the evidence is, you’re looking at someone, it’s not Halloween, and it doesn’t look like it will peel off,” Ihara told KHON.

He said the ultimate goal is to help the senior community keep their privacy.

“The senior citizen category which I’m in now, we’re the group that are clearly discriminated against,” said Ihara. “The jury is in that we are clearly over 21, and we have a right to privacy, so we’re just asking that our constitutional right to privacy in the state be respected.”

Sen. Ihara told KHON information on an ID or a birth date given out loud could lead to scammers getting a hold of that information.

Some agreed that this may be a good idea.

“Plenty of times I’ve been like, ‘Look at my hairline. Do I look like I’m under 30?'” said Makaio Villanueva, an Oahu resident. “Like, when I went to go buy something that required an age limit, or an age minimum, and I didn’t have [my ID], so it would be nice to get by.”

Others disagreed. One mother told KHON she’s worried this could provide a path for underage drinking.

“I’d hate to think if (my son’s) 18 and someone thinks he looks older and looks 21, and they just sell him whatever he’s going to buy,” said Chloe Rapozo of Oahu. “That kind of freaks me out, and I’d rather play it safe than sorry.”

Sen. Ihara said he is aware that his proposal could create problems.

“There will be a lot of people falling through the cracks because of judgement call,” said Ihara.

However, he told KHON he’s working on addressing that.

“They could have training sessions,” said Ihara. “Or, they have systems where you give your birth date once, and you have your card, right, and then, you don’t have to ask anymore [because they have it in their system].”

Sen. Ihara said he’s hoping the bill will open the discussion for ID verification.

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