Connecticut drivers won’t have to worry about those open alcohol containers in their motor vehicles because the debate on a bill to ban those containers failed to come to a vote in the House Tuesday afternoon.
An estimated 40 states prohibit open alcohol containers in vehicles, but in Connecticut it’s still legal as long as the driver is not drinking from it.
The Senate unanimously passed the bill last week, but at least one proponent of the bill believes it’s unlikely the bill will be called again in the House during the waning hours of the legislative session.
Rep. Tom Reynolds, D-Ledyard, said “philosophical objections to the bill can not be addressed by language changes.”
Reynolds said he thought the bill addressed all the concerns and objections which were raised last year, but apparently that was not the case. There was concern raised over who would receive the ticket for the open container, whether it would be the driver and the passengers or just the driver. The bill stated that it was just the driver who would receive the ticket.
Last year the bill died on the House calendar after white lawmakers found common ground with Black and Latino lawmakers during a more than four hour debate. During last year’s debate white lawmakers wanted to know whether the proposed open container law could be enforced at a University of Connecticut home football game, while Black and Latino lawmakers wanted a racial, ethnic, and gender impact study on implementation of the bill because they thought it could unfairly target minorities.
Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, D-Meriden, said he was surprised the bill ran into more opposition this year because they had worked on the language with all the lawmakers who raised concerns last year.
This year’s bill exempted tailgating at sporting events and concerts and passengers in limos. It also prevented police from stopping a vehicle simply because of an open container.