State News

Tailgating could take a hit under a new bill passed by the Assembly

As the Senate prepares to hear a slew of legislation on their last day of activity, a new bill passed by the lawmakers down the hall could make tailgating more difficult.

Image By: Gage Meyer and Gage Meyer

Wisconsinites could see their ability to tailgate outside football stadiums hampered under a new amendment soon to be considered by the state Senate.

A new proposal, designed primarily to allow wineries to stay open later and attract more business, had an amendment added to it just prior to passing the Assembly, one that could slap significant barriers on alcohol consumption outside of events.

Specifically, the bill would prohibit owners of event spaces from allowing those in attendance to drink alcohol without obtaining the proper licensing from their local government.

“What major policy problem the bill is designed to solve is a mystery to us,” said CJ Szafir, executive vice president of the Wisconsin Institute for Liberty and Law, in a legal analysis of the bill text. “But what is clear – whether intended or unintended – is that the amendment would negatively impact people’s ability to enjoy a beer at their tailgate before a Packers, Badgers, or Brewers game.

According to the Tavern League of Wisconsin, the proposal would finally provide equal standards for all places of business that serve alcohol.

“That is the whole purpose behind licensure,” Scott Stenger, a lobbyist for the Tavern League, told the Door County Pulse. “When there is alcohol being dispensed, they require you to be licensed.”

Those who wish to charge attendees for the use of their property or allow the use of public property for events like tailgates, weddings or parties would have to get a special liquor permit to allow alcohol consumption, the cost of which can reach up to tens of thousands of dollars.

“Obtaining a license from a municipality could require a significant amount of money, time and resources. Most problematically, municipalities can have a quota for how many licenses they may hand out. It would create a sort of tailgating chaos, if such a law were enforced,” Szafir said.

The Senate will soon consider the bill on the last day of their session next Tuesday, just as a new report found that Wisconsin is the second drunkest state in the union — an extremely close second at that — with about a quarter of all adults admitting to binge drinking.

Due to the popularity of this intersection of alcohol and sporting events around the state, many remain skeptical that the bill will pass the higher chamber in its current form.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Cardinal.