The family of a young singer-songwriter is fighting back against a state law that prohibits teenagers from performing in restaurants that serve alcohol.
Kayla Kroh, 16, has been sharing her talents at York County establishments for about a year and a half, her mother, Jody Kroh, said.
But, recently, the family learned of a stipulation in the law that bans people under 18 from performing in places that hold a retail liquor license, Jody Kroh said.
That means Kayla, a Central York High School student, won't be able to perform at some of her regular gigs until she turns 18 in late 2015.
The family has enlisted the help of state Rep. Ron Miller, R-Jacobus.
As he understands the law, Miller said, teens 16 and older can work in places that serve alcohol — busing tables, for example.
But the law prohibits people under 18 from performing in those same places, he said.
"I'm not sure it makes a whole lot of sense," Miller said.
Miller said his staff is working with the House Liquor Control Committee to work the change into a proposed bill already on the table.
But there's no guarantee that the law will change before Kayla turns 18. Miller said the proposal could get tied up in the liquor-privitization issue.
"I don't know," he said. "We'll try."
State Police enforce the state's liquor law. Capt. Mark Crossan said the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement will enforce the ban on under-18 performers "if we get a complaint."
Change of plans: Not wanting to put any restaurant or bar owners at risk of prosecution, Jody Kroh said her daughter will no longer perform at places like The Cove or Stone Grille & Taphouse.
"We're just very saddened and very hurt right now," Jody Kroh said.
Two weeks ago, Kayla entered an online voting contest designed to select performers for the Central PA Music Fest in Wrightsville this summer.
Soon afterward, Jody Kroh said, the family got a call from the owner of a local establishment where Kayla regularly performs. The owner had been contacted by the state Liquor Control Board, which had received a complaint from someone about Kayla performing at liquor-licensed restaurants.
Jody Kroh said she believes the complaint came from someone threatened by her daughter's talent.
Kayla — whose performances include musical genres from country to pop to jazz — has earned a loyal audience in York County, her mother said.
Kayla, who is still in the running for a spot in the music festival, opened in December for American Idol winner Scotty McCreery and finalist Kristy Lee Cook at the York Expo Center.
The law is unfair, Jody Kroh said, because her daughter could legally bus tables, "but she cannot sit up there with her guitar."
"We never thought we were doing anything wrong," she said.
— Reach Erin James at firstname.lastname@example.org.