WILL Press Release | WILL Memo: New Proposal Would Put Red Tape on Private Gatherings and Parties

Agenda for hearing Wednesday includes proposal that limits Wisconsinites’ freedom to consume alcohol

September 25, 2018 – Milwaukee, WI – Under current Wisconsin law, you do not need a license or permit to otherwise legally consume alcohol at a private event. This makes sense; generally, Wisconsinites do not want state government intruding into their social gatherings and parties.

But special interests in Madison are trying to change that in a significant way.

Today, attorneys at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) released a legal memo exposing how a proposal before a legislative study committee could prohibit the legal consumption of alcohol at certain private events. It would require a costly – and for some impossible to attain – license or permit for when people consume alcohol on rental property.

This means that consuming alcohol at certain private gatherings like parties at wedding barns, dinner parties at vacation rental homes, camping on leased hunting land, or cruising on a pontoon boat may be subject to new licensing requirements. Wisconsinites will have to consult the state statutes to determine if they can throw a certain party. Subjecting such private gatherings to government red tape is going to be costly, confusing, and counterproductive.

This new proposal is similar to an attempt made by special interests during the last legislative session that would have banned alcohol consumption while tailgating. Thankfully, that legislation did not pass after a WILL analysis exposed that effort in March of this year. This new proposal attempts to exempt most tailgating from licensing and permitting requirements, but creates significant confusion and uncertainty for a whole host of scenarios.

This new proposal is set to be discussed by the Legislative Council Study Committee on Alcohol Beverages Enforcement on Wednesday, September 26.

WILL Deputy Counsel Lucas Vebber explains:

“The same folks who would’ve banned drinking beer while tailgating at Lambeau Field earlier this year are back at it again. But now their proposal would regulate drinking beer at private events like weddings and even at vacation homes and on pontoon boats.

“Once again, this is an attempt by special interests in Madison to curtail freedom for Wisconsinites and use the heavy hand of government to shut down competition. What major policy problem this legislation solves continues to be a mystery to us.”

Read WILL’s full analysis here.


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