New bill allows out-of-state customers to use vertical IDs to purchase alcohol

Gov. Doug Ducey signed 16 bills into law Tuesday, including one allowing alcohol vendors to serve patrons with out-of-state IDs who are of legal drinking age.

The bill overturns a 2014 law restricting Arizona alcohol vendors from serving patrons without a horizontal ID, even if they were over the age of 21. That will change with House Bill 2031.

Communications senior Rishav Saghera said the law should be extended to include Arizona residents.

“It definitely angers me," he said. "I think it’s ridiculous. It’s a way for the DMV to get more revenue.”

Saghera currently uses his passport to get into clubs and purchase alcohol instead of getting a horizontal ID from the DMV. He said it’s a decision his friends have warned him about, but that he feels confident in.

“All my friends said, ‘you’ll lose your passport, you’ll get drunk and do something stupid and lose it,’ but that hasn’t happened yet,” he said.

Saghera tried using his vertical ID to get into a bar on Thursday afternoon but was denied entry while his friends with out-of-state IDs were permitted. He said he had to go home, grab his passport and take it back to the bar to be allowed inside.

He said Ducey’s new bill would have taken off that “liability” of having to carry it to clubs or out for happy hour drinks with friends if it had been applicable to Arizona residents, and that he might consider going to the DMV in the future to get a horizontal ID.

Ryan Scott, owner of bar arcade Endgame, said misinformation about the bill is leading to people “blowing it out of proportion” because it’s being reported as applying to Arizona residents.

“I did the biggest face palm I’ve ever done,” Scott said after seeing what he said was a potentially misleading article. “I’m going to have to explain to dozens of people the article is wrong, that no I can’t accept vertical IDs. It’s a headache.”

He said Tempe police always notify him of any liquor law changes because he owns a bar on Mill Avenue. He said they emphasized in an email that this bill only applies to out-of-state IDs.

Scott said he does support the bill for out-of-state ID holders, but understands why it’s important for Arizona residents to change their IDs after 30 days. He said getting an ID when someone is 16 and 21 gives them an extra ID that they can give to an underage family member so they can illegally purchase and consume alcohol.

“It’s really hard to tell the difference between brothers or sisters or cousins,” he said. “Not being able to accept licenses after 30 days is a huge step in preventing underage drinking and a really important one.”

But for civil engineering junior Emily Lauber, the new bill means a lot of time and money saved.

She’s from Pennsylvania and said she would have had to fly home in order to get an updated ID after she turned 21 earlier this week.

Lauber said she still went out for her birthday with her vertical ID, but she wasn’t turned away by security.

“All of the bouncers and security wished me a happy birthday,” she said. “Then some made comments like, ‘Gotta make sure to get this changed soon!’ And I was like, ‘It’s literally the day of (my birthday). When would I have had time to change it?’”

But Lauber is most concerned about how information regarding the new law is going to be dispersed to both the general public and alcohol vendors. She said she imagines there’s going to be a transition period before out of state vertical IDs are legitimized by alcohol vendors throughout Arizona.

“I imagine if I went to Mill tonight, I’d still get comments from security guards saying, ‘You have to get this changed,’” she said.

Related links:

New technology making fake IDs harder to spot

Arizona bars, restaurants face harsh punishments if caught allowing vertical IDs

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