UPDATE: Drinking With Parents

By: Zac Schultz Email
By: Zac Schultz Email

UPDATED Thursday, October 22, 2009 ---- 7:35 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- No one under age 18 could drink in a bar even with their parents' consent under a bill scheduled to be voted on Thursday in a state Assembly committee.

Under current law, children of any age can drink in a bar if they're with their parents and the adult gives consent and the bartender is willing to serve them.

A state Assembly committee on Thursday is set to vote on a bill that would set the minimum age at 18. The current legal drinking age is 21. An identical bill in the Senate has passed out of committee and awaits debate.

The measure must clear both houses and be signed by Gov. Jim Doyle before becoming law.

Supporters of changing the law include the Tavern League of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Medical Society.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


UPDATED Tuesday, August 25, 2009 --- 8:00 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Children could no longer drink in Wisconsin bars and restaurants under a bill scheduled to be heard Tuesday by a state Assembly committee.

A Senate committee considered the bill last week. At that hearing, doctors, anti-drinking advocates and others spoke in support of the measure. Even the Wisconsin Tavern League, the lobbying group for bars and taverns across the state, supports it.

Under the bill, only those 18 or older could drink with their parents' consent in a bar. The legal drinking age is 21.

Currently, a child of any age can drink as long as they are with their parent and the bartender is willing to serve them.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


UPDATE Posted Wednesday, August 19, 2009 -- 5:35 pm
By Zac Schultz

Madison: It's not all that rare in Wisconsin to see young kids at the local tavern with their parents, and on occasion the parents will allow their kids to drink.

"Usually it's older kids." Julie Coquard sees it all the time at Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac. "It's occasional. It's not all kids."

She says 100,000 people tour the winery each year. "The family goes through the tour and adults can have a glass for tasting and if they wish they can allow their children to taste out of their glass."

But that would be illegal under a proposal at the Capitol.

"What we should be doing is discouraging underage drinking in Wisconsin," says Sen. Judy Robson (D-Beloit), who co-authored the bill.

The bill says a child must be 18 to drink with their parents at a bar or restaurant.

"This is one small piece in the overall process of trying to address our drinking culture," says Dr. Michael Miller, who studies addiction at Meriter Hospital and the UW. He testified at a hearing Wednesday that any exposure to alcohol is dangerous for a child. "Having your parents say it's ok to drink in a tavern at age 15 isn't really healthy because your brain's not ready for it yet."

"It doesn't allow parents to educate their kids in a responsible way," Coquard testified in opposition, saying she lets her kids drink small amounts of wine. "It is a cultural thing and that's why the cultural way to approach it is education and not prohibition."

"There really is no evidence that teaching kids so-called responsible drinking in the living room with their parents is going to translate into the kids behavior when the parents aren't there," says Dr. Miller.


Posted Wednesday, August 19, 2009 --- 2:45 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Children could no longer saddle up to the bar in Wisconsin under a bill that supporters say would go a long way toward reversing what they say is the state's high tolerance for binge drinking.

Under current law, anyone under the legal drinking age of 21 can drink in a bar as long as they are with their parents, guardians or spouse.

The bill heard by a Senate committee on Wednesday would ban that for anyone under age 18.

Two doctors speaking in support say the law was important to change given new research that shows that young people who drink are more disposed to form addictions.

The powerful Tavern League lobbying group that represents bars is also in support.

The bill could be debated by the Senate as soon as next month.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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