The proposed keg registration ordinance set to be heard at the Alcohol License Review Committee meeting Oct. 19 will be referred to the committee's Nov. 16 meeting.
The ALRC would not have had adequate representation Wednesday to hear the proposed ordinance, which if passed would limit the number of kegs a person can purchase in Madison to two. Ald. Paul Skidmore, District 9, who proposed the ordinance, said alders' absences at the meeting are the reason for the upcoming referral.
"Alderpersons Judy Olson and Mike Verveer will not be able to attend the ALRC meeting," Skidmore said. "So, in order to legitimize their decision [whether or not to approve the ordinance], the ALRC will wait to pass judgment until the alders are present, which will be during their November meeting."
Skidmore said ALRC approval of the ordinance, despite its steadfast cynics, would go far to get the common council to sign off on the proposal at its Nov. 29 meeting.
"I do think it's important to get an ALRC endorsement," Skidmore said. "I'd be real surprised if any students were for [keg registration], and I know Alder Verveer and Alder King are against it because a large majority of their constituents are students."
According to Skidmore, the proposed ordinance is designed to ensure public safety, specifically, to protect people from crimes committed by those under the influence of alcohol.
"You can ask Captain Schauf of the Central District," Skidmore said. "Eighty-five percent of the crime committed downtown stems from alcohol abuse."
Skidmore said ordaining responsible drinking seems like the only way to control the alcohol problem in Madison.
"What we're trying to do is have a reasonable limitation on alcohol use," Skidmore said. "We have serious issues about over-consumption, and I haven't heard anyone else come up with another idea, so this is what I'm trying to do."
Ald. Austin King, District 8, confirmed his stance against the ordinance and said public safety would not be served by the ordinance.
"This is an ordinance that would not help public safety, but would harm it," King said. "Instead of using typical ways to drink, this ordinance would force students to take alternate and more dangerous routes to the same end."
The Halloween celebration on State Street could play a part in the proposal's fate at both the ALRC meeting and the common council meeting, according to Skidmore.
"The ALRC is going to take this up after Halloween, which may encourage or discourage people to vote a certain way on it," Skidmore said. "I think there will be some sort of an incident at Halloween, maybe not this year, but some time. Fatalities have happened in the past, and I think it's only a matter of time before it happens again. I don't want anyone dying on my watch without having tried to do something about it."
King, however, was firm in his view that a keg registration ordinance would not be affected by the Halloween celebration no matter how it went. The ordinance would do nothing to ensure public safety, King insisted.