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Senate Votes Not to Reconsider 19-Year-Old Drinking Age Bill

By Susan K. Brown

The State Senate decided yesterday by a 19-10 margin not to reconsider its vote last Thursday to approve a bill raising the legal drinking age to 19.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives will consider the bill this week, but is expected to reject it. If that happens, a conference committee of two Democrats and one Republican from each branch will work out a compromise bill.

Gov. Edward J. King said Saturday he would accept a compromise raising the drinking age to 20, even though he favors a 21-years-old minimum. The House last week approved a bill that would phase in a 21-year-old drinking age over the next two years.

Senators favoring a 21-year drinking age yesterday continued to criticize State Sen. Chester G. Atkins, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, for sending for a vote on the Senate floor only the part of the House drinking bill that raised the drinking age to 19, while keeping in committee the portion of the bill gradually raising the drinking age to 21. Because the entire bill was technically before the Senate, the senators could not amend the bill to phase in a 21-year drinking age.

"The governor is rendered helpless, paralysed by the chairman of his own committee," State Sen. David H Locke, said yesterday.

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