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Lawsuit seeks to protect Wisconsin wedding barns

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Latest on Wisconsin wedding barns lawsuit (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

Two owners of wedding barns in Wisconsin have filed a lawsuit seeking to ensure that they don't need to obtain liquor licenses in order to hold private parties where alcohol is served.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Dunn County Circuit Court. It comes after an informal legal opinion in November from then-Attorney General Brad Schimel said private events held in public spaces require liquor licenses.

The state Department of Revenue has for years said entities like wedding barns that rent out the space for private events do not need to obtain a liquor license and did not change its enforcement policy after the Schimel opinion was released.

Department spokeswoman Patty Mayers declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Gov. Tony Evers' spokeswoman, Melissa Baldauff, says incoming Revenue Secretary Peter Barca and the governor were "still learning more about this issue."

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5:39 a.m.

Two Wisconsin wedding barns owners are suing Gov. Tony Evers' administration, seeking to ensure that private parties held at such venues don't need to obtain liquor licenses.

The lawsuit being filed Tuesday in Dunn County Circuit Court comes after the future of wedding barns was thrown into question in November by former Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel.

He issued an informal legal opinion saying that private events held in public spaces require liquor licenses. State law prohibits owners of public places allowing liquor without a license, but the law does not define what a public place is.

Attorneys for the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty are bringing the lawsuit seeking a ruling that privately owned property holding events where alcohol is not sold do not need liquor licenses.

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