My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part, but go pick up a copy to read the whole thing.
Second, the fact that the Democrats are coming does not change the underlying reason that Wisconsin has an earlier bar time. Wisconsin forces all bars to stop serving alcohol at 2:00 a.m. on weekdays and 2:30 a.m. on weekends because the people consider it a public safety hazard for bars to be open later than that. Does that safety consideration disappear because it will be mostly Democrats getting sloshed at a bar in Milwaukee at 3:30 a.m. instead of someone else? Since the bill would impact the entire state, what if a Republican in West Bend gets sozzled and stumbles out of a bar at 4:00 a.m.? Is that safe?
Wisconsin’s bar time has not changed in a very long time. It is possible that the public safety considerations have changed since the last time state lawmakers set closing time. If lawmakers want to consider changing the bar closing time, then they should do the homework to fully understand the impact on public safety. Then, after a public debate with public hearings, state lawmakers can permanently change the bar time for everyone in the state.
Changing public policy should be done after rigorous study and robust debate with the entire public’s interests in mind. It should not be done on a whim to appease a single group of visitors who want to get drunk into the wee hours of a Wednesday morning. If Democrats want to keep drinking after the bars close, they can pick up a bottle and head for their homes and hotels like Wisconsinites have been doing for years.