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Selling liquor storage devices

Published (3/13/2009)
By Lee Ann Schutz
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A near tragedy resulted in an invention that could help parents restrict their childrenís access to alcohol in the home. However, under current law, the device canít be sold at a liquor store, where its inventor thinks would be the appropriate point of sale.

Bob Schmitt of Minnetonka owns Just Encase Products, Inc., and he has a patent pending on a storage unit to help parents secure their liquor supply. He has an arrangement with a major liquor retailer to market his device. But the law needs to be changed for the device to be sold in those establishments.

He told the House Commerce and Labor Committee March 5 of an incident involving a family friendís high school freshman who drank alcohol at home before going to school. She passed out in her first class, before being rushed to the hospital for possible alcohol poisoning.

Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park) sponsors HF159 that would add devices designed to ensure safe storage and monitoring of alcohol in the home to prevent access by underage drinkers to the list of items that can be sold by liquor stores.

The bill was held over for possible inclusion in an omnibus liquor bill. Its companion, SF239, sponsored by Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park), is scheduled to be heard March 19 by the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee.

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