Senate discusses erasing parental control of alcohol
The practice of parents allowing their children to tip back a few in their presence could be finished as the state legislative assault on drinking continues in the form of Senate Bill 30. The bill would ban parents from letting their kids drink until they are 18. There currently is no such prohibition and underage people can drink with their folks, legal guardians and spouses in taverns, restaurants and just about anywhere.
At a hearing this week at the Senate's Children and Families and Workforce Development, a bevy of speakers spent most of the time citing the litany of the problems of alcohol in the state, citing Wisconsin's notorious reputation for leading or being among the leaders in the country in binge drinking, underage drinking and drinking during pregnancy.
Some doctors told the committee that the brain is not fully developed until age 25 and teens do irreparable harm by drinking.
"These children with their impressionable brain cells need our help," said Paul Grossberg, a Madison physician. "Condoning underage drinking in restaurants and bars is bad public policy."
Grossberg said that nearly half of youths who start drinking at age 14 will have some sort of alcoholic complications.
Only one person showed up to argue that parents should still be in charge of their children and show them responsible alcohol behavior.
Julie Coquard, of Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac, said her winery, as do many in the state, allows parents to share samples with their kids. She said she wasn't opposed to the bill because it would affect their business -- it wouldn't, she said -- but that parents should be in charge.
"I think it's making alcohol the forbidden fruit and not allowing parents to educate their children," she said.
She was countered by a police chief who said parents can no longer be trusted.
Two Rivers Police Chief Joseph Collins said he's seen parents giving 8- and 9-year-olds beer while sitting in a bar.
"It shouldn't be the parents' decision anymore," he said, saying giving teens drinks only leads to more underage car wrecks and bad behavior. "Officers don't want to deal with this anymore."
Even Tom Farley, brother of the late comedian and actor Chris Farley, who was from Madison, showed up to lend his support to the bill. Tom Farley sits on the Madison alcohol control board and is head of the Chris Farley Foundation, which focuses on substance abuse issues.
He said the assumption that parents can teach children about safe drinking "simply doesn't exist" in Wisconsin.
The bill has 14 sponsors including state Reps. Chris Sinicki and Barbara Toles, two Milwaukee Democrats.
"Changing laws is one small way of affecting human behavior," said committee chair state Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar), who seemed receptive to the bill, adding, "I sense there is a growing desire to make sure we spread the word to reduce this blemish on our state."
The bill comes up for a committee vote Sept. 9.
The Battle Over MPS Continues: The possible takeover of the Milwaukee Public Schools by the mayor has led some who don't like the idea to begin organizing opposition. The Milwaukee Public Schools Defense League is moving fast to make sure the mayor doesn't get the authority to appoint the school board and ultimately the superintendent.
A move is underway in the state Legislature to give the mayor that authority.
The group includes former School Board President Peter Blewett, who is still on the School Board, and other well-known activists such as former union leader John Goldstein and Bay View's Bill Sell.
While the inaugural meeting is set for next week, the group's Facebook site lists some goals, such as:
- Advocate high-quality public education for all Milwaukee children.
- Support direct local community involvement and control of MPS.
- Hire and retain well-qualified teachers in MPS.
- Support continued community elections of all MPS board members.
- Discourage commercial exploitation or privatization of MPS properties and functions.
The first meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25 in the Gordon Park Pavilion in Riverwest.
Checked Out in Court: Check cashing businesses can't hide behind vague business descriptions to avoid being banned from business districts, according to a state Appeals Court. The court also reaffirmed the right of cities to restrict the locations in which check cashing places can operate.
The case stems from a 2005 decision by the city of Wauwatosa to ban check cashing and payday loan stores from a new trade district along North Avenue. It also banned auto sales and leasing businesses, automobile storage services, gun shops, outdoor storage places and pawnbrokers.
In 2006 EZMONEY wanted to open a store in the business district telling the city it was a loan store, not a check cashing place or check for loan-type business. It got a building and occupancy permit, but when residents in the area saw the signage for the business they said it looked like a check cashing place. EZMONEY charges interest at the rate of $22 per $100 for short term-loans.
The city then tightened up its code against check cashing joints, defining them as "convenient cash business" and canceled the permit.
EZMONEY cried foul and appealed first to the city and, after being rejected again, then to the courts, saying they originally could go into the area.
"We conclude that the board kept within its jurisdiction; proceeded on the correct theory of law; did not act in a way that was arbitrary, oppressive or unreasonable that represented its will and not its judgment; and made a determination that was reasonable, based on the evidence," said the court.
WHY is the government involved in this? Good grief - when is this nation going to wake up and realize that, as Thomas Jefferson so wisely said, "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."
I guess we should donate our children to the State right in the birth house. Politicians know better, ain't they?
patriot | Aug. 21, 2009 at 9:47 a.m. (report)
So now BIG BROTHER knows better than we do how to raise our kids!
Parents can't be trusted....Are you kidding me...Parents are the bad guys...I can not get my head around this... First- I own a tavern and we do not serve anyone under 21. I don't care if your parents are there. Second- If you are 18 you are an adult and not under your parents supervision. So what good does that do? There are so many problems in this State and this is the major issue at the moment. Stupid. Stop wasting our money and get back to work finding jobs and cutting our taxes.
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