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Residents split on proposal to lower Wisconsin drinking age to 19

Posted at 10:15 PM, Nov 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-09 12:13:35-05

Lawmakers will soon introduce a bill to that proposes the state lower the drinking age in Wisconsin to 19

The authors of the bill believe if you are old enough to serve in the military, you are old enough to drink.  Critics said the bill would mean more deaths as a result of drunk driving.

"I think it's ridiculous," said Tennessee Love, of Milwaukee.

"I think they should do it," said Emmaline Friederichs, of Milwaukee.

Three state representatives hope other lawmakers will back lowering the drinking age, with the stipulation Wisconsin wouldn't lose federal highway funds.

"To be honest I think it might be a little low, but at the same time there's kids out here doing it anyway," said Roman Peavy.

Some are torn on the idea, while others have strong opinions.

"Parents aren't in control of it so if we make the drinking age at 19 I think kids are going to be less focused on things like going to school and working," said Love.

Mother's Against Drunk Driving is also opposed to the idea:  

“MADD supports the MLDA 21 an opposes any attempts to lower the drinking age because countless studies have shown we would lose more people - many more each year in our roads as a result of lowering the drinking age from 21.   NHTSA estimates that over 500 additional lives (people between the ages of 18-20) would be lost each year in the U.S. if the drinking age were lowered to 18. It would be irresponsible and quite frankly hard to understand why anyone would support or even condone such action that would bring about such horrific results as this.  MADD’s mission is to eliminate drunk driving, not add to the terrible toll that already plagues our country from drinking and driving.  We certainly do not consider an additional 500 lives lost on our highways to be ‘’acceptable” under any circumstances.”

- Doug Scoles, Regional Director for MADD

Bill co-author Rep. Adam Jarchow (Balsam Lake) told TODAY'S TMJ4 the bill would remove rebellion surrounding underage binge drinking.  He believes the lower drinking age could lead away from tragedies.  

"Countries in Europe do it all the time.  Honestly, they make drinking more about family and like an experience than about just college drinking so I think making it younger might actually encourage that in Wisconsin," said Friederichs.

Rep. Cindi Duchow (Delafield), who represents part of Southeast Wisconsin, declined our request for a comment Wednesday.  Rep. Rob Swearingen (Rhinelander) is the third co-author.