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State lawmakers target self-scan beer, wine sales

By The Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Concerns about underage drinking are prompting West Virginia lawmakers to consider barring self-scan beer and wine sales.

The House Judiciary Committee endorsed a bipartisan measure on the subject Thursday.

Supporters say the proposal is similar to the current requirement of face-to-face sales for tobacco products. They argue store clerks assigned to multiple self-serve checkout machines can become distracted and wave through an underage buyer.

But the committee also learned of a bait-and-switch tactic by underage shoppers. They self-scan a case of soda and then use it to hide beer they have in their cart. Several committee members questioned how the bill would stop this form of shoplifting.

A lobbyist for the state Retailers Association said it opposes the measure. It advanced to House Finance on a non-unanimous voice vote. 


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