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PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — New Hampshire lawmakers are saying no to a proposal to lower the legal drinking age for members of the military on active duty.

The bill to reduce the legal drinking age to 18 for members of the armed forces was rejected Wednesday by the House Judiciary Committee.

The committee voted to recommend that the full House kill the bill.

Rep. James Splaine, D-Portsmouth, a sponsor of the bill, says it’s not fair to send 18-to-21-year-olds to war, but then deny them from drinking an alcoholic beverage.

But those speaking against the bill said lowering the drinking age would lead to an increase in alcohol-related accidents among young people.

Last summer, Wisconsin state Rep. Mark Pettis, R-Hertel, introduced a bill to drop the $500 fine for underage drinking to just $10 for servicemembers. The bill would allow officials to skirt federal drinking age minimums but still protect the state’s more than $50 million in federal highway funds, which could be revoked if the federal age minimum of 21 is repealed even in part.

A Wisconsin House committee approved the bill 7-2 in November. Officials from Pettis’ office said the next step is a vote before the full House, but no timetable has been set.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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