Teen drinking bill, born of a
mom's grief, loses
By Jennifer M. Fitzenberger -- Bee
Published 2:15 a.m. PST Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Lynne Goodwin's grief deepened Tuesday
when the Assembly Health Committee voted down a bill to help
curb teenage drinking. Assembly Bill 216 is known as
Casey's Bill after Goodwin's 20-year-old daughter from
Exeter, who was killed by an underage drunken driver. It
would have assessed a fee on beer and distilled spirits
makers to fund community-based alcohol recovery centers for
The bill failed 9-9, with seven
members not voting. It needed a majority to pass.
Legislators voting against it said they could not support
creating a new program when the state is deep in debt.
After the vote, Goodwin shook her head and said lawmakers who killed AB
216 don't understand its implications.
"I don't feel like they've educated
themselves yet," Goodwin said, tears welling in her eyes.
"It's not just about Casey. This can't be about one person.
It's about good legislation."
Lynne Goodwin and her
two surviving children, Christopher, 18, and Kellie, 14, pay a visit
Tuesday to the Capitol, where a bill inspired by the traffic death of
Goodwin's daughter Casey was defeated.
Sacramento Bee /
Berman Obaldia, Western region vice
president of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United
States, said the bill shouldn't have focused only on the
"Our message is the fact that
studies have shown that underage youth get access to alcohol
through the family," Obaldia said. "That is what we need to
More than 100 teenagers from
throughout the state attended the hearing in support of the
Many said they were disappointed in
its defeat and didn't understand the committee's logic.
"I think it's ridiculous that it
doesn't pass now," said Chris Duarte, 18, of Mariposa.
The bill's author, Assemblywoman
Wilma Chan, D-Alameda, said the alcohol industry put up a
The pressure that lobbyists put on
lawmakers was too tough to crack, Chan said. But she pledged
to bring the bill back, possibly next year.
Large beer distributors such as
Anheuser Busch, Miller and Coors would have faced fees based
on an annual survey of youth alcohol consumption and brand
The bill would have generated $100
million the first year and up to $600 million thereafter for
the new alcohol-recovery and prevention programs.
Dario Frommer, D-Los Angeles, chairman of the Health
Committee, said he could not support the bill during such
tough financial times.
Before the hearing, the teenagers
rallied outside on the Capitol steps. They chanted in
support of the bill and tied black ribbons around their arms
in memory of Casey Goodwin.
Casey Goodwin was killed in March
near Kettleman City while driving home from college to
celebrate her mother's birthday. She had organized
sober-graduation programs at Exeter Union High School and
was an active member of a program that encourages teens not
to drink and drive.
Her 16-year-old brother, Kyle
Goodwin, was killed earlier this month after losing control
of his vehicle on a mountain road.
On Tuesday, Lynne Goodwin wore two
black bands on her arm, one for each dead child. Together
with Casey's father, Reed, and their two other children, she
decided Tuesday morning to make the trip to Sacramento.
"We're only here because Kyle would
have wanted us to be here for Casey," the mother said.
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