Is it time to lower the drinking age? Wisconsin, home to Pabst, Miller, and Schlitz beer, is debating that very question as a bill has been proposed to lower the legal drinking limit to 19.
The bill was circulated by three Republican lawmakers, but Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he will not support the bill, and he plays a central role in determining which bills are heard. The bill's main sponsor, Rep. Adam Jarchow, said that a 19 year-old can serve in the military and, as such, should be able to enjoy a cold one, too. Republican Rep. Joel Kleefisch, who doesn't drink, agrees. "If you can sign up to give your life for this country," he said, "you ought to be able to have a beer."
However, the age of 19 was not chosen arbitrarily as, by that age, alcohol would not be "causing unnecessary distractions while still in school," Jarchow said. He said the bill would also help on college campuses where "countless hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars" currently spent enforcing drinking laws "could be used for other important issues such as drug abuse and sexual assaults."
Wisconsin already has an interesting underaged-drinking loophole. While the legal drinking age is 21, it's legal to have a beer under that age in a bar or restaurant as long as you're with your parents.
The bill is co-sponsored by Republican Representatives Rob Swearingen and Cindi Duchow.