ST. PAUL -- Soldiers who are under 21 years old would be allowed to legally drink alcohol under a bill introduced this week by a local state lawmaker.

Senator Jeff Howe of Rockville says active duty members can already drink alcohol when they are on their post.

I just think it's right.  They've volunteered to serve, they've got an active duty military ID, whey they shouldn't be able to do that when they are in their home state here in Minnesota.

Howe says his family has a lot of active duty members, and he thinks military who are 18 to 20 years old have earned the ability to drink alcohol if they choose to.

I certainly believe if they've volunteered to serve their country, and possibly die for their country, why not allow them to drink when they are home on leave and back for a family occasion.

Howe says this is the first time he has introduced this bill. There are no hearings for it set yet, but he says he'll be meeting with the chair of the Judiciary Committee to see if he can get the bill moving.

Howe's bill says "a person who is 18,19, or 20 years old that is serving in active military service in the armed forces of the United States and who presents a valid military identification card issued by the United States Department of Defense may consume, purchase, or possess alcoholic beverages."

Howe says there is a companion bill in the House.

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