Pennsylvania legislature considers allowing confiscation of fake IDs

State Sen. Donald White introduced a bill Friday to allow alcohol vendors to confiscate IDs, turn them over to law enforcement

· January 29, 2013, 11:40 pm

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If proposed Pennsylvania legislation passes, getting caught with a fake ID could not only lead to you getting turned away but to the ID’s confiscation.

On Jan. 25, Pennsylvania State Sen. Donald White (R-Indiana) introduced a bill — which was referred to the Law and Justice Committee — that would grant alcohol vendors the ability to confiscate an identification card if they have reason to believe that it is a fake.

However, the card can only be confiscated after it has been placed through an electronic scanner.

The second part of the bill specifies that any IDs confiscated under this law must be turned over to local law enforcement agencies within 48 hours of confiscation.

According to Joe Pittman, Sen. White’s chief of staff, this legislation has been in the works for a while and a version of the current bill was first introduced in 2006.

Currently, several vendors on Penn’s campus do not confiscate fake IDs.

“Typically, I just tell [people with fake IDs] to go home,” Andrew Lawrie, a bartender at Cavanaugh’s Restaurant and Sports Bar, said.

He added that although those people don’t normally return, there have been instances when people have tried to come back with the same ID and he has confiscated them.

Frank Wang, a bouncer for Blarney Stone, said that people with fake IDs are routinely turned away.

“On Thursday, [our busiest] night, about 30 to 40 percent of people who come through get turned away with fakes,” Wang said.

However, Wang added that he usually doesn’t confiscate fake IDs, although he said he has confiscated a few and has given them back at the end of the night.

Both Lawrie and Wang said that if the bill was passed, the way they conduct their jobs — whether or not they confiscate a fake ID — would not be affected.

But there are other establishments with stricter policies.

Ben Ciervo, a bartender for Drinker’s West, said that it’s the bar’s policy — and the policy of the other bars he works at, including McFadden’s and the Bud Light Zone in the Wells Fargo Center — to take away fake IDs.

“When it comes down to it, it’s [about] being responsible for your bar and looking out for fellow people in the business,” Ciervo said.

Brian Phillips, co-owner of Copabanana, believed that restaurants and bars should be able to confiscate fake IDs and agreed with the spirit of the legislation.

“Restaurant owners and bar owners take the responsibility for the identifications,” Phillips added. “It seems the onus is on us.”

Paul Ryan, owner of Smokey Joe’s, said it was not the bar’s policy to confiscate fake IDs.

If the new legislation is passed, the bar will “probably not confiscate them anyways.”

Several Penn students who have used fake IDs do not feel like the legislation would greatly affect them.

A College junior who wished to remain anonymous said that she has gone to bars twice since the beginning of the semester.

“My ID scans so [the new legislation] probably wouldn’t affect me,” she said.

“I’ve never had problems getting into bars in West Philly,” a College sophomore who wished to remain anonymous said. He added that even if the legislation passed, it would not affect whether or not he went to bars.

“I’ve already had [my ID confiscated] before,” he said. His ID was previously confiscated at a liquor store in Center City.

Another College sophomore said that for her, going to over-21 clubs would “depend on whether the clubs downtown cracked down on IDs under the new legislation.”

“If they did, I might go less, and only to things worth [the value] of the ID,” she said.

The 2006 version of the bill provided for bartenders to detain individuals who were caught with fake IDs. That provision has since been eliminated.

During the previous session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the newest version of the resolution to allow confiscation of IDs — proposed in 2012 — was approved by the Senate 48-1 but was never voted on in the House.

Now, White has proposed a modified version of the 2012 bill to a new session of the General Assembly.

“We’re hopeful it will get passed this session,” Pittman said.

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