‘Parents who host’ liability bill approved

Posted at 4:40 p.m. on November 1, 2017

The Brillion News

MADISON – The state Senate approved Senate Bill 202, which closes a loophole that had allowed parents who hosted underage drinking parties to escape criminal responsibility.

Co-sponsors in our area include state Reps. Andre Jacque of De Pere and Ron Tusler of Harrison.

Under the bill, parents who knowingly permit, or fail to prevent, underage drinking on premises they own or control would be liable. State law previously limited that liability drinking by people under 21 only if occurred at “premises” – which courts ruled meant taverns, not private homes or hotel rooms.

Under the bill, the law will read: “No adult may knowingly permit or fail to take action to prevent the illegal consumption of alcohol beverages by an underage person on property, including any premises, owned and occupied by the adult or occupied by the adult and under the adult’s control.”

An adult is also liable for underage drinking in hotel rooms if the adult has payment of security for the lodging.

The bill now heads to the Assembly for action.

Jacque originally raised the concern about the wording of current state law, which made it appear as though “premises” where underage drinking takes place only meant licensed premises. With that wording, a Fond du Lac County judge ruled that it was legal for a parent to host an underage drinking party at his home, and a state Court of Appeals agreed.

Senate Bill 202 closes that loophole in the legal mumbo-jumbo.

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