A child prodigy’s problem leads to legislation. Tallan Latz is a ten year-old blues guitar prodigy who hasn’t performed in a Wisconsin tavern since his dad, Carl, received a letter from the state telling him kids cannot perform where alcohol is served. “You know he can be in those establishments, and I can legally hand him a beer,” Latz told the Senate Committee on Children and Families. “So it’s okay under the current law for me to hand him something to drink, but if I hand him a guitar, now that is considered child endangerment.”
Carl Latz said he canceled 25 in state gigs after being told of the prohibition, although Tallen has performed in other states, and on radio and television. The bill (SB 295) from state Senator Neal Kedzie would allow kids under the age of sixteen to perform in taverns as long as parents or guardians are with them. Tallan supports the idea. “A kid shouldn’t be able to drink in a bar, buy they should maybe be able to play guitar instead of drink in a bar,” he told committee members.
Testifying against the bill was Julaine Appling of Wisconsin Family Action, who questioned the merits of crafting legislation in response to one individual, and warned of unintended consequences for kids who’s parents aren’t as conscientious as Tallen’s. “There will be parents who will not exercise the caution that Tallen’s parents are,” Appling said. “It will not be just about child prodigies. There’s nothing in this bill that says you have to have a certain level of talent.”
Carl and Tallan Latz (6:00 MP3) AUDIO: Carl and Tallan Latz (6:00 MP3)