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Panel bill to decriminalize alcohol misdemeanors

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Posted at 4:14 PM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-24 10:09:46-05

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- An Idaho legislative panel unanimously approved a measure that would reclassify first-time underage possession or consumption of alcohol from a misdemeanor to an infraction.

The House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee approved House Bill 494 on Tuesday.

According to the bill, any subsequent offense would then be a misdemeanor.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho testified in support of the bill. Kathy Griesmyer, public policy strategist for the ACLU, says the measure reduces public defenders' workload and keeps petty offenders out of jail.

The bill must now clear the House floor.