SAIPAN - Senate President Victor B. Hocog, as acting governor, last week signed House Bill 21-48, which allows 18-year-olds to serve and sell alcoholic beverages.

In an interview on Friday, the author of the new law, Rep. Joel Camacho, said he now looks forward to seeing high school graduates and other 18-year-old individuals “attain fair employment opportunity.”

Camacho said he is also thankful to the acting governor for considering the measure that amended the law prohibiting 18-year-old individuals from selling alcohol.

He noted that H.B. 21-48, which is now Public Law 21-12, does not allow 18-year-olds to mix alcoholic beverages.

The new law states: “A licensee, his agent, or employee shall not permit any person under the age of 21 years to mix any alcoholic beverages at any on-sale establishment. Provided further that, for purposes of this subsection, on-sale establishments may permit persons 18 years of age and older to serve or sell but not mix alcoholic beverages for purposes of employment. Any person who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction, be fined not more than $1,000 and/or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both, and shall be required to perform not less than 80 hours but not more than 250 hours of community service which cannot be suspended or converted to a fine.”

Camacho said many graduating high school students want to work in the hotel-restaurant industry to gain valuable experience. Some of these students, he added, want to work as waiters or waitresses for certain business establishments, but are unable to do because of the law that prohibits minors from selling alcohol.