Published January 18 2011
North Dakota bill targets fake IDsBISMARCK – North Dakota lawmakers want to crack down on the more than 2,300 college students in the state who have used fake IDs.
On Monday, legislators discussed Senate Bill 2133, which says businesses can seize an ID if they think it’s fake. They then must report it to law enforcement within 24 hours.
Bill sponsor Sen. Tim Flakoll, R-Fargo, said there isn’t one action or law that can solve alcohol abuse.
“We can, however, do things to chip away and reduce the problem,” he said. “We can reduce the incidence of underage drinking (and) binge drinking – because, essentially, if someone is underage and gets into the bar, they’re going to make, in their estimation, the best use of their time while they’re there.”
Also covered under the bill would be the illegal use of an underage sibling using an older sibling’s ID, Flakoll said.
There are countless sources online for minors to buy fake IDs, which range in price from $50 to $200, Flakoll said.
“So, when you have a $200 ID that’s a fake one, by taking it off the street you really limit their wanting to keep doing that over and over and over again,” he said.
The hospitality and retail associations, higher education officials and law enforcement voiced support for the bill during Monday’s hearing.
A 2008 survey of North Dakota college students found 6.6 percent – or more than 2,300 students – admitted to using a fake ID to obtain alcohol, said Jane Vangsness Frisch of the North Dakota Higher Education Consortium for Substance Abuse Prevention.
“Although we know this is not the majority of our students that are engaging in this illegal behavior, it is a critical mass of our young people and is concerning,” she said.
In submitted testimony, North Dakota State University Police Chief Bill Vandal said he’s received many phone calls over the years from concerned parents about the use and availability of fake IDs.
One minor successfully purchasing alcohol with a fake ID usually means many of the student’s minor friends now have access to alcohol, he said.
Current server training instructs servers to only keep the fake ID if the person abandons it or willingly surrenders it, Vandal said. The proposed bill would empower servers and retailers to seize the ID and notify law enforcement, he said.
Rudie Martinson of the North Dakota Hospitality Association said the industry suppports the bill.
“We in the industry have no interest in selling alcohol to people that aren’t legally qualified to buy it,” he said. “And so this bill puts a tool in our toolbox to prevent that, that we as an industry would very much like to have.”
One parent at the hearing said he is concerned his son would have his valid ID taken away. Myron Blumhagen of Drake said his son is about to turn 21, but looks young.
“If he goes into any establishment and tries to buy alcohol and they confiscate his ID and he can’t get it back for 24 hours and he’s going to drive home, he’s going to be driving home without a valid driver’s license,” Blumhagen said.
Lawmakers discussed several possible amendments to the bill – including one that would include tobacco – but did not take any action.
Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.