Bill would lower drinking age in Wisconsin to 19

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — 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.

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.

The bill sponsors say that at age 19 "there are very few things that you cannot do," but drinking is one of them.

They say lowering the drinking age would negate the need to spend "countless hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars" enforcing drinking laws, especially on college campuses.

The regional director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving sent CBS 58 this statement: 

“MADD supports the 21 minimum legal drinking age and opposes any attempts to change it. Countless studies have shown we would lose more people — many more each year on our roads as a result of lowering the drinking age from 21. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 500 additional lives (people between the ages of 18 and 20) would be lost each year in the U.S. if the drinking age were lowered to 18. It would be irresponsible and quite frankly hard to understand why anyone would support, or even condone, an action that would bring about such horrific results as this. MADD’s mission is to eliminate drunk driving, and lowering the minimum drinking age would add to the terrible toll that already plagues our country because of drinking and driving. We certainly do not consider an additional 500 lives lost on our highways to be acceptable under any circumstances.”

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