State Assembly To Discuss Bill To Combat Underage Drinking

The state Assembly will discuss a bill Thursday aimed at cutting down on underage drinking.

The bill would allow alcohol retailers to sue anyone trying to buy booze underage. But some are opposed to the law because it would include anyone who is working with police as part of an undercover compliance check. In those cases, authorities send an underage person into an establishment to try and buy alcohol. It’s a tactic police commonly use, although it’s not technically legal.

“We don’t want to stop the alcohol compliance checks. We feel like that’s an important part to reducing underage drinking in our state,” said Pat Ruda, of the Coulee Council on Addictions.

A state representative will propose a change to the bill, which will allow police to continue compliance checks.

“An amendment that I’m going to be bringing forward to the bill is basically going to give legal status and legal exemption to efforts by law enforcement, under their supervision, to have underage individuals do compliance checks for alcohol purchasing,” said state Rep. Andre Jacque.

Jacque’s amendment has support of many of the bill’s critics.