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Proposed Bill Would Fine Parents who Host Underage Drinking Parties

MADISON (Channel 3000) -Parents or other adults in Wisconsin could be fined for hosting underage drinking parties under a new bill at the state Capitol.

Rep. Andre Jacque, R-DePere, has reintroduced a bill from last session that would prohibit an adult from "knowingly permitting or failing to take action to prevent" underage drinking on their property.

Currently state law says adults can't serve alcohol to those under 21 on their property, but the Supreme Court has interpreted that to mean specifically licensed premises with liquor licenses. The bill would clarify that the prohibition also applies to homes.

Parents can be fined for providing alcohol to a minor, but law enforcement officers must prove that the adult purchased the drinks. In this case, adults can be fined simply for allowing drinking on their property.

Parents who violate the bill and host a party could be subject to a $500 fine per underage person.

Some communities statewide have taken their own efforts to create "social hosting" ordinances to fine parents who host drinking parties. In Dane County, the community of Oregon passed an ordinance in 2012 that could fine parents up to $2,000.

Jacque said there's concern among those communities that the ordinances would not hold up in court unless state law is changed to support the language.

He proposed a similar bill in 2013 that passed an Assembly committee 7-1, but did not get a vote on the floor.

He's hopeful the bill may move forward in the next couple months

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