MADISON – Rep. André Jacque, R-De Pere, has reintroduced a bill that would prohibit adults from providing alcohol to minors on their property.
Parents who violate the bill could face fines of $500 per underage person.
Wausau has had its own social hosting ordinance for years, but some lawmakers are concerned that the rules might not hold up if challenged in court. The idea behind the bill, Jacque said, is to have an “enforceable strong standard.”
Current law says adults can not serve alcohol to people younger than 21 on their property, but the Supreme Court has interpreted that to mean specifically licensed premises with liquor licenses, Jacque said.
This bill would clearly establish that the ban also applies to private residences.
“We’re not necessarily even talking parents, we might be talking just an adult who is otherwise essentially sponsoring underage drinking, which we know many times people drive from those parties and can have very tragic circumstances,” Jacque said.
Bill LaBine, the executive director of the Jackie Nitschke addiction treatment center, said these types of bills are created with good intentions to change Wisconsin’s hard drinking culture. In addition to such bills, LaBine said lawmakers should focus on enforcing bills already in the books that help combat addiction and mental health issues.
“The problem is nobody is enforcing those bills, and they’re full of loopholes,” LaBine said.
A similar bill failed to pass in 2013.