Proposed Change in Who Pays the Fine for...

Posted at 5:42 PM, Mar 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-04 18:42:00-05

Who's held responsible for a fine in the serving of minors alcohol could soon change soon. A bill proposed in Madison would see that citations were paid by employees who make the costly mistake rather than the bar owner. NBC26 has more on what this could mean to you.

Get caught selling beer to a minor today and it could cost the bar owner upwards of 15- hundred dollars. But in the near future the burden might fall into the bar tenders lap.

At St. Brendan’s Inn in downtown Green Bay and really just the bar business in general, serving minors is viewed as one of the most costly mistakes a bar can make.

"We don't want to be caught in that position…. we do get people that come in here and say, we don't have an ID. And we don't serve them. So we take it very seriously around here," says bartender David Pickering at St. Brendan’s Inn.

Twice a year police can conduct under cover stings at bars in Wisconsin. But if a new bill passes in Madison the fine for the mistake could fall solely on the one who served it.

“We've trained these people, we left them in good faith, and if they mess up they should take the citation for it," says Sue Robinson the President of the Brown County Tavern League.

Robinson says today bar owners can get slapped with the fine, even if they're out of town when it happens.

"Common sense would say every once in awhile we're gonna be home or we might go on vacation. Unfortunately we’re expected to be on our premise 24/7 and I don’t know any other business owner that’s expected of of you," adds Robsinson.

And while critics may think bar owners are trying to pass the buck. Some in the industry say it’s already the standard in many establishments.

"If I was personally to get caught in a sting I would have to pay my fine and also the establishment's fine," says Pickering.

Because ultimately with the power to serve alcohol to patrons, also comes a huge sense of responsibility. A responsibility that many in the business know is just part of working behind the bar.

The bill is moving fairly quick in Madison. It passed through the Assembly last month and now the bill is on its way to the Senate for a vote.