A proposed ballot initiative that would lower California’s drinking age from 21 to 18 has been approved to start collecting signatures, says California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
If enough signatures are collected in the November 2016 election, voters will determine whether or not California will become the first state to lower the legal drinking age to 18 since the current drinking age of 21 took place in 1984, KTLA reports.
Terrance Lynn, the bill’s proponent, will have to collect 365,880 signatures by April 26, 2016, for the initiative to qualify for the ballot, Padilla said on Oct. 30.
According to a document on the Office of the Attorney General’s website, the proposal was initially sent to Attorney General Kamala Harris on August 23, 2015.
Lynn explained the reasoning behind the proposal on his website, "theterrylynn."
“This is about equal rights,” he wrote on the site. “18-year-olds have nearly every burden and privilege of adults… except the right to drink alcohol. This is a misguided aberration from 1984 that should be corrected.”
Nonprofit organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, has stated their opposition to the proposal. According to the organization, over 25,000 lives have been saved due to the drinking age being raised to 21.
Underage drunk drivers were involved in over twice as many fatal traffic crashes before 1984 compared to today, MADD also states on its website.
According to Padilla’s website, the action could potentially increase state and local tax revenues by several million dollars per year. However, according to the Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance, it could cause the state to lose $200 million in federal highway funds.