Ohio's bill could require alcohol training and reduce bars' civil liability

Training includes alcohol sales laws, preventing sales to minors, knowing when to stop serving, and conflict resolution skills in alcohol-related situations

A new Ohio law would require state-approved training for anyone who serves alcohol if it takes effect.

The bill would require all liquor permit holders and their employees to complete a training program approved by the Superintendent of Liquor Control. Training covers the laws governing the sale of alcohol, preventing sales to minors, recognizing when to stop serving alcohol, and conflict resolution skills in alcohol-related situations.

When liquor permit holders and employees complete the training and follow training protocols, they are immune from lawsuits for personal injury, death, or property damage.

The bill would be called “Hayden’s Law,” named after Hayden Kaiser, a 25-year-old football coach from Northfield in northern Summit County who died in 2021 after a car accident.

Rep. Gail Pavliga, R-Atwater, introduced the bill after Kaiser's parents approached her. Pavliga said Kaiser had a bill for $170 at a bar and was still allowed to go outside and get into his car.

“It's not that the parents think anyone did anything wrong. It's just that now they're really trying to educate the servers about what that would look like and clearly prevent others from losing their lives,” she said.

Pavliga said she doesn't expect any resistance from bars and restaurants.

“I think, on the contrary, some people will think that we actually care about their safety and concerns so that their facilities can operate safely and have the opportunity to be supported by the law,” she said.

Pavliga said she hopes the bill can set a precedent for acting responsibly when someone enters a bar, comparing it to the distracted driving law.

“We're taking a look at the things that continue to keep lives and roads safe. We believe this is another tool to accomplish this here at Ohio State,” she said.

Erin Glynn is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which covers the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.

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