The proposed keg registration ordinance for the City of Madison could gain momentum from the City of La Crosse's approval of similar legislation last week.
According to the La Crosse Tribune, the approved ordinance requires a 48-hour, two-keg limit per person or address. The ordinance also makes it necessary for vendors to keep registration for at least two years and forces purchasers to pay a $50 deposit per keg on top of the store's deposit for keg and tap.
Ald. Paul Skidmore, District 9, the author of Madison's proposed ordinance, said La Crosse's decision to approve a keg registration ordinance bodes well for his proposal.
"I certainly hope La Crosse's ordinance builds momentum for my proposal," Skidmore said.
According to Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, keg registration ordinances are on the books in college towns across the nation but very few, if any, limit the number of kegs a customer can purchase.
Limiting the number of kegs per person, a tact meant to curb the rate of binge drinking in La Crosse, is similar to Madison's current proposal.
Keg registration in Madison, if approved, would also limit the number of kegs sold per person to two, Skidmore said. He added the purpose of keg registration is to promote responsible drinking.
"We want to control the amount of alcohol, particularly at house parties," Skidmore said. "Bars are licensed by the Alcohol License Review Committee (ALRC) and are controlled by the law, but at a keg party, there is no such control."
Verveer said he is aware house parties can lead to some dangerous situations, but also said he thinks the proposed keg registration will do nothing to stop their frequency.
"Students will easily get around the law, if it is passed," Verveer said. "They will travel outside the city to buy multiple kegs, they may use multiple names at various liquor stores or they may switch to buying cases or even hard liquor."
The La Crosse ordinance imposes a $1,000 fine for any host allowing underage people to drink from a keg obtained outside the city. Madison's proposed ordinance has no such provision, which may provide a loophole for University of Wisconsin students with vehicles.
Verveer said the proposed ordinance essentially does nothing to slow the regularity of house parties in the campus area, and that police do not need keg registration to prevent illegal alcohol consumption.
"Police don't have any trouble finding parties that are out of control," Verveer said. "They don't need any additional evidence that would be generated by a keg registration ordinance to pin the party on the hosts and enforce the law accordingly."
The City of Madison Common Council will vote on the keg registration proposal Sept. 20.
In preparation for that date, Skidmore said the proposed ordinance will pass through a number of subcommittees for their suggested amendments, including the ALRC, at which Skidmore said he plans on using the news of La Crosse's approved ordinance.
"I plan on citing La Crosse in my efforts to gain support for keg registration here," Skidmore said.