Wisconsin Bill would allow 14-year-olds to serve alcohol


MADISON, Wisconsin (AP) — Fourteen-year-olds in Wisconsin could serve alcohol to seated customers in bars and restaurants, under a bill circulated Monday by two Republican lawmakers for fellow sponsors.

Under current law, only employees 18 years or older may serve alcohol to customers in Wisconsin. The law would extend this to workers aged 14 to 17. They could only serve seated customers not drinkers who are at the bar itself.

The current serving age limit “creates staffing issues because a company’s underage employees can only do a portion of their jobs,” the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Rob Stafsholt of New Richmond and Rep. Chanz Green of Grandview, said in a memo distributed Monday , which searches for co-sponsors.

They said their idea creates “a simple solution” to the problems of the state’s labor shortage in the food and beverage industry. The bill requires the licensed operator of the bar or restaurant to be on site and in charge.

Although no one under the age of 21 can legally drink alcohol, people under the age of 21 — including minors of all ages — are allowed to drink in Wisconsin bars and restaurants when they are with their parents.

If the proposal goes through, Wisconsin would have the lowest age limit for employees to serve alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The measure is still a long way from becoming law. It has to pass the Senate and Assembly, both controlled by Republicans, and signed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. His spokeswoman Britt Cudaback lampooned the proposal Monday, listing numerous initiatives Evers has proposed to address the state’s labor shortage problem, including building more homes and funding schools, before issuing a message detailing the bill’s bill Republicans forwarded.

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