MADD against WI bill lowering drinking age

Published: Nov. 8, 2017 at 10:54 PM CST
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Wisconsin lawmakers are circulating a bill that would lower the drinking age in Wisconsin to 19. Mothers Against Drunk Driving quickly responded to the bill with strong opposition.

"We don't support anything that has any kind of acceptable loss of life, " Doug Scoles, Regional Director for MADD told NBC15 over the phone.

MADD says the 21 minimum legal drinking age is best as studies have show.

According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 500 more lives would be lost each year in the U.S. if the drinking age were lowered to 18.

Rep. Adam Jarchow (R- Balsam Lake) wrote the bill that began circulating on Wednesday. He hopes the bill could do many things, particularly help curb the binge drinking in young adults on college campuses. He believes Wisconsin has a problem with drinking in general, and sees opportunity in fixing it with this bill.

"The idea is if you prohibit people to doing something until they are 21, the natural inclination is to be a little bit rebellious when they're young, then to over indulge," Jarchow said.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed the Minimum Drinking Age Act. Under the act, states must keep their drinking ages at 21 or be at risk for a loss of federal highway funding.

Jarchow says they've drafted the bill so that it will not go into affect at the expense of federal highway funding.

"Either Congress could amend the bill, or there could be a waiver mechanism," Jarchow explained as he hopes the Trump Administration will work with them on the bill.

He says he and the other republicans that crafted the bill are looking forward to discussing with the Department of Transportation and members of the U.S. Congress.

Scoles doesn't think the bill will get very far if there is a risk of losing funding.

"MADD’s mission is to eliminate drunk driving, and lowering the minimum drinking age would add to the terrible toll that already plagues our country because of drinking and driving," Scoles said.