Wisconsin considers lowering drinking age to 19

(Photo illustration by Chris Furlong/Getty Images)

MADISON, Wis. (AP/WCMH) — The legal drinking age would be only 19 in Wisconsin under a bill circulated by the former president of the Tavern League and two other Republican lawmakers.

“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,” said Michael Speath, University of Wisconsin-Madison student.

The proposal unveiled Wednesday calls for lowering the drinking age from the current minimum of 21 only if Wisconsin would not lose its federal highway funds.

A federal law passed in 1984 penalized states with a reduction in federal highway money if they didn’t have a minimum drinking age of 21.

According to WISN, an 8 percent loss of funding would mean a $53.7 million reduction.

“At 19 years old, there are very few things that you cannot do,” said 38-year-old Rep. Adam Jarchow. Nineteen-year-olds have legally been an adult for one year, can enlist in the military and be sent thousands of miles away to fight, but can’t “enjoy an alcoholic beverage,” he said.

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