With pressure growing on the Legislature to adopt tougher laws on drunk driving, the effectiveness of the Tavern League could be put to a test in the coming year.
State Senate President Fred Risser (D-Madison) says the group has been quite influential because it hasn't been partisan and can do some grassroots lobbying. He says the group has organized letter-writing and e-mail campaigns from tavern patrons that are quite effective with lawmakers.
The bar lobby almost single-handedly killed a statewide smoking ban earlier this year. Risser says that issue will be back in the January legislative session, and this time he predicts the taverns will lose.