MI lawmakers consider easing penalty for underage drinking

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan lawmakers are moving to lighten the penalty for underage drinking, making a first offense a civil infraction instead of a misdemeanor crime.

The House on Tuesday voted for the change 105-1. The Senate, which passed the legislation previously, is expected to move it to Gov. Rick Snyder soon.

The maximum $100 fine would stay the same, and a minor could still be ordered to receive substance abuse services.

The bill sponsor, Republican Sen. Rick Jones, says the minor-in-possession law is clogging up the courts and hurting young people’s ability to get into college or work.

In 2014, there were about 9,300 first-offense convictions for underage drinking.

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