BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          Date of Hearing:  April 20, 2016


                   ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION


                                  Adam Gray, Chair


          AB 2121  
          (Gonzalez) - As Amended April 12, 2016


          SUBJECT:  Alcoholic beverage control:  Responsible Interventions  
          for Beverage Servers Training Act of 2016


          SUMMARY:   Establishes the Responsible Interventions for  
          Beverage Servers (RIBS) Training Act of 2016, beginning July 1,  
          2020, that would require an alcohol server, as defined, to  
          successfully complete an approved RIBS training course within 3  
          months of employment and every 3 years thereafter.  The bill  
          would provide that an approved RIBS training course include  
          information on, among other things, state laws and regulations  
          relating to alcoholic beverage control and the impact of alcohol  
          on the body.  Specifically, this bill:  


          1) Provides that beginning July 1, 2020, an alcohol server shall  
          successfully complete an approved RIBS training course within  
          three months of employment and every three years thereafter.   
          The licensee shall ensure that those persons required to  
          successfully complete an approved RIBS training course do so.  A  
          current certificate or card provided by any approved training  
          course provider shall be sufficient documentation of successful  
          completion and shall be accepted throughout the state.


          2) Provides that on or before January 1, 2019, the Department of  








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          Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) shall establish a list,  
          published on its Internet Web site, of approved RIBS training  
          courses that may be used to fulfill the requirements, as  
          specified.


          3) States that an approved RIBS training course shall consist of  
          at least four hours of instruction and include, but shall not be  
          limited to, the following information:


            (a) The social impact of alcohol.


            (b) The impact of alcohol on the body.


            (c) State laws and regulations relating to alcoholic beverage  
          control, including laws and regulations related to driving under  
          the influence.


            (d) Intervention techniques to prevent the service or sale of  
          alcoholic beverages to underage persons or intoxicated patrons.


            (e) The development of management policies that support the  
          prevention of service or sale of alcoholic beverages to underage  
          persons or intoxicated patrons.


            (f) The course shall provide basic, introductory instruction  
          on the elements, as described.


          4) Provides that a RIBS training course may be offered through a  
          trainer-led class and assessment or self-training and  
          assessment.  A RIBS certificate or card shall be issued only  
          upon successful completion of an approved RIBS training course  








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          and assessment. A minimum score of 70 percent on the assessment  
          shall be required to successfully complete the course. An  
          approved RIBS training course shall issue a certificate or card  
          to individuals who successfully complete a course. The  
          certificate or card shall be valid for three years from the  
          original date of issuance, regardless of whether the alcohol  
          server changes employers during that period.


          5) Provides ABC may, by regulation, establish additional  
          training standards and curricula to be included in an approved  
          RIBS training course.  ABC shall establish minimum standards and  
          promulgate regulations for the training and scope of practice  
          for a person who sells or serves alcoholic beverages.


          6) Provides at least one approved RIBS training course shall  
          cost a participant no more than fifteen dollars ($15), inclusive  
          of the certificate or card provided upon successful completion  
          of the training course. 


          7) States that at least one approved RIBS training course shall  
          be offered in Spanish. If no RIBS training courses meet these  
          requirements, then the requirement in this bill shall not apply.


          8) Provides ABC shall review an approved RIBS training course at  
          least once every three years after the course is approved.


          9) Maintains that beginning January 1, 2019, ABC shall include  
          information on the RIBS training course requirement, as  
          specified, including information on documentation requirements,  
          on the application for a license and with the license renewal  
          notices sent to licensees.


          10) States that beginning January 1, 2020, a licensee applying  








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          for a new license that authorizes alcohol to be served on the  
          licensed premises shall certify on the application that all  
          employees of the licensee have either successfully completed a  
          RIBS training course or, within the first calendar year of the  
          issuance of the license, will have successfully completed a RIBS  
          training course.  The licensee shall provide ABC with  
          documentation of successful completion.


          11) Provides that beginning January 1, 2020, a licensee applying  
          for the renewal of the license that authorizes alcohol to be  
          served on the licensed premises shall certify on the  
          application, and provide ABC with documentation, that all  
          employees of the licensee have successfully completed a RIBS  
          training course.


          12) Defines "Alcohol server" as a person who sells or serves  
          alcoholic beverages, or a person who manages a person who sells  
          or serves alcoholic beverages, for consumption on the premises  
          of a licensed facility.


          13) Defines "RIBS training course" as a Responsible  
          Interventions for Beverage Servers training course approved by  
          the ABC. 


          14) Defines "Self-training and assessment" as a process where  
          the individual trains, and takes an assessment, without the  
          presence or intervention of a trainer or instructor, and  
          includes, but is not limited to, training and assessment by a  
          computer program or the Internet.


          EXISTING LAW:  


          1) The Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, administered by ABC,  








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          regulates the granting of licenses for the manufacture,  
          distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages within the state. 


          2) Defines an "On-sale" license as authorizing the sale of all  
          types of alcoholic beverages namely, beer, wine and distilled  
          spirits, for consumption on the premises (such as at a  
          restaurant or bar).


          3)  Provides that every person who sells, furnishes, gives, or  
          causes to be sold, furnished, or given away, any alcoholic  
          beverage to any habitual or common drunkard or to any obviously  
          intoxicated person is guilty of a misdemeanor.





          4)  States no person who sells, furnishes, gives, or causes to  
          be sold, furnished, or given away, any alcoholic beverage shall  
          be civilly liable to any injured person or the estate of such  
          person for injuries inflicted on that person as a result of  
          intoxication by the consumer of such alcoholic beverage.





          5)  Allows ABC to issue licenses and authorizations for the  
          retail sale of beer, wine and distilled spirits on a temporary  
          basis for special events (Special Daily Beer and/or Wine  
          License, Daily On Sale General License).





          6)   States a cause of action may be brought by or on behalf of  








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          any person who has suffered injury or death against any person  
          licensed, or required to be licensed, as specified, or any  
          person authorized by the federal government to sell alcoholic  
          beverages on a military base or other federal enclave, who  
          sells, furnishes, gives or causes to be sold, furnished or given  
          away any alcoholic beverage, and any other person who sells, or  
          causes to be sold, any alcoholic beverage, to any obviously  
          intoxicated minor where the furnishing, sale or giving of that  
          beverage to the minor is the proximate cause of the personal  
          injury or death sustained by that person.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown


          COMMENTS:  


          Purpose of the bill  :  According to the information provided by  
          the author, the Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs (LEAD)  
          program and Responsible Beverage Service Training (RBS) are not  
          required in California, meaning many bartenders and servers are  
          not prepared to recognize patrons who have been over-served and  
          to safely intervene to prevent tragedy.  Excessive alcohol  
          consumption can impair an individual's mental and physical  
          abilities, which creates a public safety risk when an individual  
          operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated.  When individuals  
          drive under the influence, it not only puts the driver at risk  
          -- it threatens the lives of passengers and all others who share  
          the road.  The social cost is clear, as drunk driving causes the  
          deaths of 10,000 of our loved ones every year.





          The author states by requiring a beverage server be trained to  
          intervene before patrons become over-served alcohol can play an  
          important role in ensuring that the public is protected.  AB  








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          2121 can follow the lead of 18 other states and the District of  
          Columbia by making this training a requirement of those serving  
          alcoholic beverages to patrons.





          The author additionally notes according to "the National Highway  
          Traffic Safety Administration, more than 10,000 people die on  
          our streets every year - the equivalent of one fatality every 51  
          minutes due to drunk driving.  While we cannot entirely stop  
          every individual from making bad decisions that put innocent  
          people at risk, we do have a responsibility to intervene when we  
          can."


          The author notes, "While law enforcement does its best with  
          checkpoints and other enforcement, these approaches only help  
          after someone has already made the choice to get behind the  
          wheel when they should not.  Bottom line, this is not good  
          enough.  By establishing a uniform, standard education  
          requirement for all servers, California can improve the  
          likelihood that a server will intervene upfront before a patron  
          become a danger or commit a crime.  And that saves lives."





          The author contends this bill "will ensure that all servers  
          learn the necessary skills to protect the patron, public, server  
          and business.  We know drunk driving ruins lives and kills too  
          many innocent people.  That is why we need to make sure those on  
          the front line are equipped to help."


           Background  :  Responsible Beverage Service Training (RBS) is not  
          mandatory in California.  However, some cities and counties do  








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          require RBS training to sell or serve alcoholic beverages at  
          establishments within those jurisdictions.  For instance, the  
          City of Solana Beach requires training within 30 days of being  
          hired - certification is valid for 3 years.  The City of  
          Berkeley requires training within 90 days of being hired -  
          certification is valid for 2 years.  The City of Rohnert Park  
          mandates training within 60 days of being hired.  The City of  
          Petaluma requires training within 90 days of being hired -  
          certification is valid for 3 years.



          ABC offers a free and voluntary 4-hour class, called Licensee  
          Education on Alcohol and Drugs, or LEAD, for retail licensees,  
          their employees and applicants.  In 1991, the program began due  
          to a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety.  The  
          LEAD Program provides the licensee and applicant with practical  
          information on serving alcoholic beverages safely, responsibly,  
          and legally, and preventing illicit drug activity at the  
          licensed establishment.  At the conclusion of the class, an exam  
          is given on the material that was covered.  Each person that  
          fulfills all of the training requirements receives a  
          certificate, via email, certifying that they successfully  
          completed a LEAD training course. 

          The LEAD Program is one of several training programs that offer  
          responsible beverage service training. ABC provides a list of  
          other RBS training providers on its web site.  ABC encourages  
          its licensees to participate in these classes as a means to  
          minimize the risk of liability for criminal, civil and ABC  
          regulatory actions, to potentially lower liability insurance  
          premiums, and to develop strategies for addressing challenging  
          situations associated with the sale of alcohol.  ABC does not  
          offer the LEAD Program in languages other than English.


           California Dram Shop Law  : Under current state law, owners of  
          bars, restaurants and liquor stores can face criminal  
          misdemeanor charges (which carry penalties of six to 12 months  








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          in county jail, a minimum $1,000 fine, or both) and be held  
          liable for civil damages to an injured third party where such  
          owners serve a minor who is visibly intoxicated.  A vendor who  
          provides alcohol to a person 21 years of age or older cannot be  
          held liable for damages if the person then injures someone else,  
          even if the person was obviously intoxicated at the time.  The  
          law states that the consumption of alcohol, not the furnishing  
          of the beverages, is the proximate cause of injuries that an  
          intoxicated person inflicts on another individual, a position  
          that largely eliminates dram shop liability.  
           
          In Support  :  According to the Federal Centers for Disease  
          Prevention and Control, representing local health departments  
          throughout our state, "Excessive alcohol use can lead to  
          increased risk of health problems including injuries, violence,  
          liver disease, and cancer. AB 2121 seeks to mitigate these risks  
          by requiring responsible beverage service training programs.  
          These training programs would educate servers on the impact of  
          alcohol, current laws and regulations, and intervention  
          techniques to prevent sales to underage and intoxicated persons.  
           Local health departments support efforts that promote public  
          health of our communities and reduce the risks associated with  
          alcoholic beverage consumption."

          According to the California Medical Association, binge drinking,  
          defined as consuming five or more drinks for men and four or  
          more drinks for women, is strongly associated with  
          alcohol-impaired driving.  An analysis of the Behavioral Risk  
          Factors Surveillance System survey found that over 10% of binge  
          drinkers drove during or within two hours of binge drinking. Of  
          those, over 50% reported that they had been drinking at a  
          licensed establishment.  RBS training provides bartenders and  
          servers with tools to effectively identify when a patron has had  
          too much to drink, and how to safely intervene if the patron  
          attempts to get into their car.  RBS has been found to increase  
          appropriate server practices, increase refusal to serve  
          obviously intoxicated patrons, and decrease the percentage of  
          intoxicated patrons leaving an establishment.  Three years after  
          Oregon mandated responsible beverage service training, fatal  








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          single vehicle nighttime crashes decreased by an estimated 23%.

           In Opposition  :  The Civil Justice Association of California  
          (CJAC) opposes this measure "unless it is amended to add  
          liability protection for servers, bartenders, and restaurant and  
          bar owners.  As introduced, AB 2121 will lead to the  
          establishment of dram shop liability.  If every server or  
          manager has to complete uniform training, and every licensee has  
          to make sure every manager and server completes the training,  
          then the training materials may become the de facto template for  
          the duty owed by the licensee, manager, server or establishment  
          to its patrons and to anyone injured by them.  AB 2121 should be  
          amended to indicate that neither the required training nor any  
          failure by a licensee, manager or server to meet the  
          requirements of the new Section 2, Article 4 is a basis for  
          civil liability. CJAC suggests the addition of a new B & P  
          Section 25681 (c): No person required to complete an approved  
          RIBS training course or ensure completion by another person  
          pursuant to (a) or (b) of this section shall be civilly liable  
          to any injured person or the estate of such person for injuries  
          inflicted on that person as a result of intoxication by the  
          consumer of an alcoholic beverage."

           Policy considerations  :  The bill as currently written applies  
          only to on-sale premises (bars, restaurants, wineries,  
          distilleries, etc.) which means that an "alcohol server," as  
          defined, at off-sale retail establishments would not be required  
          to receive server training.  Should the bill be amended to  
          include a person who sells alcoholic beverages for consumption  
          off the premises of a licensed establishment?  Is there a  
          difference between training an on-sale server to intervene  
          before a patron becomes over-served alcohol and an off-sale  
          employee selling alcohol to an individual who is clearly  
          intoxicated and poses a public safety risk, if the transaction  
          is completed?

          AB 2121 is unclear whether it mandates training for alcohol  
          servers at special events.  Non-profits often obtain Special  
          Daily Wine/Beer Licenses or Special Daily On-Sale General  








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          Licenses for fairs, festivals and the like.  Is it the intent of  
          the author to require server training for these types of special  
          ABC licenses?  

          The bill only addresses seller/servers and presumably, floor  
          managers/supervisors.  Should training for on-site owners and  
          managers be mandatory too?  

          AB 2121 introduces a new term, "RIBS," for what is commonly  
          known throughout the state as "RBS" (responsible beverage  
          service).  Currently, ABC, as well as cities in counties (in  
          local ordinances) use the term, RBS not RIBS.  Should the bill  
          be amended to reflect RBS to maintain consistency and to prevent  
          local cities and counties from having to amend their local  
          ordinances to read RIBS rather than RBS?
          


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          County Health Executives Association of California


          California Medical Association


          California Police Chiefs Association


          Liquor License Advisor, Inc.











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          Opposition




          Civil Justice Association of California




          Analysis Prepared by:Eric Johnson / G.O. / (916) 319-2531