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As I See It

Wisconsin considers “kiddy cocktails”



It is important there be rules regarding children in the workplace. We saw that with the recent discovery of 13-year-olds working in dangerous conditions at meat processing plants in Minnesota and elsewhere, where they were put to work cleaning saw blades and other dangerous equipment. There are laws against putting minors in dangerous situations at the workplace. But some rules aren’t really designed to keep young workers safe. Like letting those under 18 serve alcohol. That is the idea behind legislation being considered by Wisconsin state lawmakers. The young teens wouldn’t be able to be bartenders, but they could deliver drinks from the bar to their customers seated at a booth or table. Right now in Wisconsin, only those 18 and older can legally serve alcohol. So those 14 to 17 can take drink orders, but can’t run the drinks to the table. This legislation would change that. Backers argue this will help address the labor shortage in the food and beverage industry, but it seems there are more significant steps lawmakers could take if they were serious about addressing a labor shortage. This isn’t the dumbest idea they’ve come up with in Madison, it just might not make a big difference.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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