SPONSOR: Bland (Curls)

COMMITTEE ACTION: Voted "do pass" by the Committee on Public Health by a vote of 12 to 1.

This substitute requires the placement of a warning sign in any establishment licensed to sell or serve alcohol beverages. The warning sign is required to state that drinking alcoholic beverages during pregnancy may cause birth defects. The substitute specifies the size of the sign and requires that it be displayed in a conspicuous place on the premises.

Any employee of the Supervisor of Liquor Control can report a violation of the substitute to the supervisor, who is required to issue a warning to a licensee.

FISCAL NOTE: No impact on state funds.

PROPONENTS: Supporters say that alcohol ingestion by pregnant women is a leading cause of mental retardation and fetal alcohol syndrome in newborn children. Fetal alcohol syndrome can affect the comprehension and reasoning skills of children and can result in secondary disabilities such as neurological disorders and disruptive behaviors. Similar legislation has been passed in 21 other states.

Testifying for the bill were Representative Barry; March of Dimes; and Family Information Network for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

OPPONENTS: There was no opposition voiced to the committee.

Joseph Deering, Legislative Analyst