Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin have proposed a bill that would allow 14-year-olds to serve alcohol to seated customers in bars and restaurants. At present, only those over the age of 18 are legally allowed to serve alcoholic beverages to customers in Wisconsin. The proposed legislation would enable bartenders as young as 14 to serve seated customers, but not those standing at the bar.
According to the bill sponsors, Senators Rob Stafsholt and Representative Chanz Green, the current age limit on serving alcohol creates workforce issues, as underage employees are only able to perform part of their job. The proposed change, they say, provides a simple solution to the workforce shortage problems in the food and beverage industry.
The law, if passed, would mandate the presence of the licensed business owner or manager at all times. The current Wisconsin law allows minors of any age to drink at bars and restaurants if they are with their parents, even though the legal drinking age is 21.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, if the bill passes Wisconsin will have the lowest age limit for alcohol servers. The bill still needs to be signed by Democratic Governor Tony Evers and the Republican-controlled Senate and Assembly.
Britt Cudaback, the governor’s spokeswoman, sent out a response mocking the suggestion and listing the governor’s plans to address the state’s labour shortfall, which include investing in schools and constructing more housing.