DNC bar time bill clears another hurdle

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – A bill to extend bar hours during the DNC this summer is one step closer to becoming law, but its fate is still up in the air.

The bill – AB 869 – passed the Assembly last month and was unanimously voted for approval in a Senate committee meeting Wednesday. Now it is able to go to the full Senate for a vote where supporters, including State Sen. Tim Carpenter (D – Milwaukee) hope it is approved.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to have the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee,” Carpenter told CBS 58.

But the bill has gone through several modifications in order to garner support in the Senate, where it is uncertain if it will pass.

Those against the bill, including Sen. Van Wanggaard (R – Racine) and some who testified at the public hearing Wednesday, are concerned about the risk of increased drunk driving in a state that is already trying to curb OWI offenses.

“We’re not just talking about people at the DNC, I’m sure they’ll have rides and stuff,” Marla Hall, the founder of the Eliminate Drunk Driving Education Foundation, said in testimony Wednesday. “We’re talking about the alcoholics that are on our roads.”

To address those concerns, the bill has limited the area affected to just 14 counties in southeastern and southcentral Wisconsin. It also requires municipalities to opt-in and it increases OWI penalties.

Supporters believe the bill can help the DNC have a stronger impact for the city after it leaves in July.

“This is a huge, huge bill for in terms of hospitality of Milwaukee,” Carpenter said. “To let other people around the country know what our state is like.”

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