Cashiers get to choose who to card

Posted on Feb 13 2017

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A new law now gives cashiers the choice whether to ask for an ID from customers who are buying alcoholic beverages or tobacco.

House Bill 19-141, HD1, SS1 gives employees of any commercial establishment licensed to sell alcoholic beverages and tobacco the discretion whether or not ask for any identification cards from customers who are buying these products. The bill, authored by Rep. Glenn L. Maratita (R-Rota), is now Public Law 19-84.

Maratita introduced the bill after customers, who are obviously of legal age when buying alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, complained every time cashiers ask for their ID, based on the carding requirements.

The original law, Public Law 11-75 and 17-83, required cashiers to card all customers, regardless of their age.

HB 19-141 was introduced after finding that some of these laws’ provisions had an adverse effect in the community. Senior citizens and tourists who are over the age limit have complained about the carding requirement.

“There exists growing complaints in the community…as a result of the enforcement of the mandatory ID card requirement prior to selling any alcoholic beverage and tobacco products at the off-sale and on-sale licensed establishments,” Maratita wrote.

Most of the complaints, Maratita said, were from senior citizens and tourists, “as well as a growing adverse community reaction with respect to the absurdness in demanding for a valid ID card on a daily basis from the same person, specifically from the retail establishment’s regular customer of legal age.”

While the intent of the mandatory ID card requirement is to prevent minors from consuming alcohol and tobacco products, the Legislature also recognizes and supports the rationality of repealing certain sections of the law.

PL 19-84’s amendment reads: Unless based on actual knowledge or reasonably certain that the person buying alcoholic beverage products is at least 21 years old [or any tobacco products is at 18 years old], no person or business establishment shall sell or permit his/her employee or agent to sell to any person without first [asking] to present an ID.

Documents or IDs that could be presented must be issued either by the CNMI government and municipalities; the United States government, States or territories, or by a foreign government that has the person’s name, photo, sex, and date of birth showing he or she is of legal age.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, however, asked the Legislature to clarify some sections of PL 19-84. “Rather than vetoing the bill, I ask the Legislature’s further consideration to amend it by defining the terms ‘actual knowledge’ and ‘reasonably certain’ [in order] to capture and accurately represent the Legislature’s view in giving retail vendors the discretion to exercise prudent human judgment. Further, I ask the Legislature to insert language that holds accountable retail vendors who fail to make diligent inquiry as to whether the customer is, in fact, a minor,” added Torres.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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