Bill would lower drinking age to 19 in WI - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Bill would lower drinking age to 19 in WI

The bill's sponsors said it will only go into effect if Wisconsin doesn't lose federal highway funds as a result. (Source: WISC/CNN) The bill's sponsors said it will only go into effect if Wisconsin doesn't lose federal highway funds as a result. (Source: WISC/CNN)

MADISON, WI (WISC/CNN) - A bill in Wisconsin would lower the drinking age. Three state representatives want to open bars and liquor stores up to anyone 19 and older.

"I think generally speaking that consenting adults should be able to engage in these kinds of activities without the government getting in the way," Rep. Adam Jarchow said. "I see no reason why we can send young men and women off to war but they can't have a beer."

Representatives Jarchow, Cindi Duchow and Rob Swearingen, the former Tavern League president, are circulating the bill, but said it will only go into effect if Wisconsin doesn't lose federal highway funds as a result, something in which Jarchow is confident.

All states in the U.S. adopted 21 as the legal minimum drinking age with the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. A state with an alcohol age limit lower than 21 jeopardizes highway funds, according to the act. In order to not lose highway funding, federal action would be required.

"Part of the campaign promises that were made by the republicans in Congress and President Trump was that they were pro federalism, meaning they were pro-devolving federal power back to the states," Jarchow said.

At a local level, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin says he isn't opposed to the age change as long as educational campaigns, better resources for alcoholism and a mechanism to get folks in the bar and liquor industry to pay more for policing and resources.

"It's not fair to take it out of the general fund from people living throughout the city who don't spend a lot of time consuming alcohol in bars," Soglin said.

Despite the age restriction, younger people are drinking anyway. The University of Wisconsin in Madison is ranked the top party school time and time again for a reason.

"People are going to work hard and play hard," student Michael Speath said. "I've been here since freshman year, and I've been drinking at bars since that year. It was a little tougher, obviously, but everyone's going to find their way in, whether it's fake ID or you can bribe a bouncer, so it's a matter of if. It's just a matter of when. when, not if. The younger kids get it anyway."

Of course, the bill will have to go through a number of steps, before  Wisconsin takes a page from overseas.

"Other countries, like in Germany, when it's lower, people don't abuse it as much, don't binge drink as much," Speath said.

Copyright 2017 WISC via CNN. All rights reserved. Raycom New Network contributed to this report.

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