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Wisconsin Wants To Lower The Drinking Age, But Should They

The age at which people are legally allowed to purchase and consume alcohol is a divisive issue, and there have been discussions about the pros and cons of each respective age worldwide.

DrinkingAge

As it currently stands, the United States has one of the highest minimum drinking ages nationwide, at 21 years old. Canada sets their limit at 19 (or 18 in the province of Quebec), while many European countries have their minimum drinking ages as low 16. Many of these countries opt instead to spend more time educating their younger population on the risks of alcoholism and over-drinking, as opposed to the approach of forbidding and shaming them from consuming alcohol at all (which North America in general is known for).

VinePair

However, there are still plenty of people who feel that the United States needs to relax their stance on the age you can purchase alcohol at, and it looks like the state of Wisconsin might be one of the first to enact some changes: they've proposed a bill to lower the state-wide drinking age to 19 years old...

The bill was circulated last Wednesday by three Republican senators, including the former president of the Wisconsin Tavern League, and aims to increase revenue and tourism due to an increase in sales of alcohol. Rep. Adam Jarchow of Balsam Lake, the bill’s main sponsor, made the point that 19-year-olds can enlist in the military, but cannot enjoy an alcoholic beverage. "If you can sign up to give your life for this country," said Rep. Joel Kleefisch (a non-drinker who still supports the bill), "you ought to be able to have a beer."

NY Daily News

However, the bill is already poised to face stiff resistance. For starters, current federal law, as of 1984, asserts that any state that sells alcohol to those under 21 will face the loss of 8% of their federal highway funding. For Wisconsin, this would mean a loss of $53.7 Million this year alone.

Mental Floss

Not only that, but several prominent politicians in the area seem to be either opposed to the bill, or just disinterested. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who plays a central role in determining which bills are brought up for vote, has said he would not support the bill. Neither the leader of the Wisconsin Senate nor Gov. Scott Walker have voiced their opinion on the bill.

What do you think? Should Wisconsin lower the drinking age to 19?