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Lawmakers crack down on hosts for underage drinking, smoking

PIERRE -- The Legislature cracked down Monday on people who host or allow underage alcohol parties and on people who sell e-nicotine devices to minors.

The House of Representatives voted 60-10 to expand South Dakota's tobacco regulations to cover e-cigarettes and other devices for delivering nicotine vapor.

Meanwhile, the Senate voted 25-10 for new penalties on social hosts.

The two measures now go to Gov. Dennis Daugaard for his review whether to sign them into law.

Sen. Dan Lederman, R-Dakota Dunes, and Rep. Mike Stevens, R-Yankton, were the main sponsors of the nicotine vapor restrictions.

Under SB 181, people would need to be at least 18 years old to buy the e-cigarettes and other devices. The age restriction also would apply to the nicotine cartridges.

The social-host legislation, meanwhile, sets two tiers of potentially stiff penalties and defines a social host as "anyone who hosts a social gathering and knowingly condones the illegal consumption of alcohol by underage persons on property that the host controls."

The main sponsors of SB 163 are Sen. Larry Lucas, D-Mission, and Rep. Steve Hickey, R-Sioux Falls.

People acting as social hosts would face up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,000 for allowing children younger than 18 years to illegally consume alcohol on the property or at the premise of the host.

Social hosts who allow young adults ages 18 through 20 to consume alcohol would face up to 30 days in jail and a fine up to $500.

The proposed law establishes a defense against conviction if the social host or someone acting for the host attempts to stop the drinking immediately after discovering it.