Montana Legislator Defends ‘Road Beer’ Bill, Says Most Montana Drinkers Already Breaking Law
This week, the Montana House Judiciary took up a bill (HB 206) sponsored by Representative Daniel Zolnikov that would allow passengers in a vehicle to drink alcoholic beverages. The bill has been referred to as the "road beer law,” and Zolnikov argues that it’s time to stop treating adults like children.
"The goal literally, as easy as I can put it, is to allow someone riding from point A to point B to have a beer or a drink if they want to," said Zolnikov. "When it comes to DUI's there are fines for that, laws for that and punishments for that. The one thing I just want to put on the record is it is funny how many people react and are treating adults like children of this legislation."
Zolnikov says that current Montana law concerning open containers is so strict that most people that buy alcohol are already breaking it.
"Most Montanans I would say are already breaking a law with an open container anyway," said Zolnikov. "If you read the law, if you have an open container that is not in your trunk or locked in the glove box and it is sitting next to you, even if it is beers that have not been opened, wine that was previously open and closed again, anything along those lines, you can get an open container ticket."
Right now, Montana law allows exemptions for alcohol consumption in certain vehicles, like licensed taxis and limousines, but not in private vehicles.