Harrisburg, PA Considers Charge for Harm


Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Mayor Linda Thompson has asked lawmakers to pass a bill that would allow cities and municipalities to impose a 10% tax on alcohol. The plan was originally proposed by a task force as a way to close Harrisburg’s growing budget gap. The tax would help offset the city’s immense law enforcement costs associated with alcohol use. "Our police officers are often called out for DUIs and disturbances after night clubs let out. And that can wrack up a police budget that way into overtime we normally don't anticipate," Thompson said. A bill to allow cities and municipalities to tax alcohol is expected to be introduced in Pennsylvania within the next few months. 

Australian Baseball Federation Cuts Ties with Alcohol Sponsors

Australian Baseball
The Australian Baseball Federation just took a bold step to separate the game from the alcohol industry's harmful influence. On November 1, the ABF accepted a deal from the Australian federal government to cut all sponsorship ties with alcohol corporations. In return, the ABF will receive $25 million in replacement sponsorship deals. The government initiative, entitled “Be the Influence – Tackling Binge Drinking” – is part of its larger National Binge Drinking Strategy. The program, which has now been taken up by 14 sports in Australia including basketball, football and swimming, provides a policy model for other countries to free sports from the influence of Big Alcohol.

Super-Strength Lager Causes Harm in the UK

carlsberg special brew

The reputed United Kingdom publication The Independent recently published a special report on the dangers of super-strength lagers and the hypocrisy of the alcohol companies promoting them. The article called such products “the dirty secret of the global drinks industry,” and noted that “they are causing more damage to vulnerable people than heroin or crack cocaine, according to a leading homeless charity.” In particular, the investigation focused on tactics and strategies used by the alcohol industry to hide behind ‘drink responsibly’ messages while selling products that contain 4.5 drinks per serving--which sounds remarkably similar to supersized alcopops producers in the U.S. Click here to read the AJ report on how the industry uses "drink responsibly" as a public relations tool.

Oglala Sioux Lawsuit Against Big Alcohol Dismissed as State Issue


A federal judge has ruled that the lawsuit filed by the Oglala Sioux Tribe against five massive beer companies (Anheuser-Busch InBev, SABMiller, Molson Coors, MillerCoors LLC, and Pabst) should be considered a state issue. Of the lawsuit, which alleges that the defendant companies knowingly contributed to devastating alcohol-related problems on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, U.S. District Judge John M. Gerrard said: "There is, in fact, little question that alcohol sold in Whiteclay contributes significantly to tragic conditions on the reservation. And it may well be that the defendants could, or should, do more to try to improve those conditions for members of the tribe. But that is not the same as saying that a federal court has jurisdiction to order them to do so." The lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it can be taken by the tribe to state court.