Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Capitol grants drunk hour

The state Senate and an Assembly committee passed legislation Tuesday that would allow Wisconsin partygoers one more hour to drink after daylight saving time.

The proposed bill aims to comply with the U.S. government's new daylight saving time, which starts three weeks earlier on the second Sunday of March and ends the first Sunday of November.

Due to the time adjustment, bar owners lose one hour of business if they close at the usual 2:30 a.m. The proposed bill would extend bar closing to 3:30 a.m. during the transition.

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"Wisconsin has always gone along with the federal law, so we're just making sure that we comply with the federal government," said state Rep. Karl Van Roy, R-Green Bay, chair of the Assembly's State Affairs Committee. "The bill also clarifies the bar closing time, which has been an issue in past daylight saving times."

States are not required to enforce the new time lapse but may choose to observe and follow the federal government's schedule.

According to Rep. Frank Boyle, D-Superior, some bar owners get confused with the closing time, and law officers have had a hard time enforcing the law.

"The first part of the bill complies with the federal daylight saving law, and the second clarifies the time in which bar owners will have to shut their doors," Boyle said.

Lee Pier, general manager of the Nitty Gritty, said the one extra hour would be interesting, but not revolutionary in the long run.

"We lose an hour in the spring, but we gain one hour in the fall," Pier said. "I won't say I'm not happy with having one more hour for business, but if the law doesn't pass, we won't be losing anything either."

The committee unanimously passed the bill, and it will head to the Assembly floor for a vote. If passed, the Assembly version could be sent with an approved Senate version to the governor by the end of this week.

The Senate body approved the bill on a voice vote with no debate Tuesday morning.

The State Affairs Committee also held public hearing on legislation regulating the tasting of beer and wine samples on certain retail premises.

According to state Rep. Jason Fields, D-Milwaukee, wine distributors are already allowed to give out free samples, and the proposed bill would expand beer sampling.

The bill allows two servings of three ounces of beverage to be distributed per person in one day.

Van Roy said the bill would allow smaller beer distributors to advertise products in a more effective way and expand their businesses.

"The benefit would be for smaller brewers to sell a particular product," Van Roy said. "People would be able to taste the product rather than just buying a 12-pack, and if they like it, they can buy the full pack assured of the quality."

The bill will be reviewed and voted by the State Affairs Committee in the upcoming weeks.

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