Wisconsin’s legal drinking age would be 19, under a bill being circulated by Republican lawmakers. State Representative Adam Jarchow, the bill’s author, notes that current federal penalizes states with a reduction in federal highway funding, if they don’t have a minimum drinking age of 21.
“So the way we’ve set up this bill is that the first thing that would have to happen is to have the federal government sign off, so that we would not lose federal highway funding,” Jarchow says.
Jarchow says young adults who can be sent overseas to fight can’t have a beer with buddies. Lawmakers in Jarchow’s own party have taken the lead in efforts to curtail drunk driving. “I see drunk driving as a totally separate issue from when people should be able to have a beer,” Jarchow says.
One of Jarchow’s co-sponsors on the bill is Representative Rob Swearningen — a former president of the Tavern League of Wisconsin.