Licensed bartenders could soon be required to remain totally sober while on the job.
Legislation at the Capitol would require bartenders to refrain from drinking while on the job. State Representative Josh Zepnick (D-Milwaukee) says the behavior could impact the safety of customers, especially if a bartender fails to help a customer who may be too drunk to drive.
However, Madison bar owner Bill Rogers says the current version of the bill would make it difficult to train his workers, who often need to sample specialty products. Rogers says his bartenders don’t drink while they’re serving customers, but the proposal would prevent them from ever having a drink while on the clock.
Zepnick says the bill is intended to attack a more severe problem, where the person responsible for the bar is engaging in “quite a bit of drinking” as well. He says he will consider changes to address the concerns of businesses.
The legislation is being considered by an Assembly committee.