Soon, 14-year-olds may be bringing Wisconsin diners their drinks.
A controversial bill introduced in Wisconsin could lower age minimums for those serving the state’s drinkers. According to the Associated Press, two Wisconsin lawmakers are seeking support for a bill that would allow restaurant and bar employees as young as 14 to serve alcoholic beverages. Currently, only employees over the age of 18 can serve alcohol to seated guests in these establishments.
The Republican lawmakers, Senator Rob Stafshot and Representative Chanz Green, circulated a memo among fellow state reps seeking support of the bill. The bill would allow servers aged 14 to 17 to serve alcohol to seated customers with a licensed restaurant or bar manager present per the AP. Under this proposed change, though, these younger employees would not be permitted to serve at bar seating areas.
The bill aims to be a “simple solution” to the state’s understaffing issues, as the bill sponsors say in a recent memo to colleagues. They note that the current law “causes workforce issues due to an establishment’s underage employees only being able to do part of their job.”
Governor Tony Evers’ spokesperson Britt Cudaback expressed skepticism of the bill and the lawmakers’ so-called “solution” on Monday.
If signed into law — after passing in the Republican-controlled Senate and Assembly and being signed by Evers — it would make Wisconsin the state with the lowest minimum age to serve alcohol. Wisconsin law states that residents must be over 21 to drink independently, but teenagers may order drinks under a parent’s supervision in bars and restaurants.