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Wisconsin Tavern League Wants A Bill Now!

February 27, 2007

The Tavern League of Wisconsin walked the corridors of power in the Statehouse today.  They were on a mission.  By the way they talked and presented themselves one might think the very foundation of democracy was at stake if their arguments were not heeded.  There is a huge problem that needs legislative correction they stressed, and it needs to be handled now.  Not merely this session, but right now. 

It might surprise my readers to know that the dire situation the overly powerful Tavern League wants our elected officials to think is real has to do with a one night closing time for taverns when day light savings time takes effect.  Yes, you read that sentence correctly.  The State Statutes read that taverns must close at 2:30 A.M. on Sundays, except the first Sunday in April, which had been the start of day light savings time.  Since day light savings time starts on March 11th this year the panic ridden Tavern League saw the possibility of some members not selling enough intoxicating beverages, and demanded that the State Legislature fix the problem.  They argue that the additional hour of sales if vital!  Every other Wisconsin business with a clock can handle the change, but I am to believe that bar owners who feel they never make enough cash require an extra hour to be open for this one night.   In fact State Senator Roger Breske said that the bill would help a few “small businesses.”

Acting as if there was absolutely no other issue that could possibly be as important as the whims of this heavy-handed lobbying operation, Wisconsin Legislators from both sides of the aisle fell to their knees anxious to be compliant with this statewide association that helped many to become elected last fall.  To pretend that this fast action does not have anything to do with the amount of cash that the Tavern League spreads to legislative candidates is pure rot.   The Democracy Campaign has calculated that nearly $94,ooo was given by the Tavern League’s two-campaign arms in 2004.

The speed with which this bill hit the Senate floor, (one big strike against the Democratic leadership for buckling) and is moving in the State Assembly shows two things.  One is that the Legislature can move quickly when there is a desire to see action take place.  The second thing is it appears that money again plays a most unsettling role in how legislation takes shape in the Statehouse.

Wouldn’t it be nice if those under the dome would move so quickly for health care issues or civil rights?

2 Comments
  1. July 18, 2007 11:56 AM

    Maybe if you were to look at exactly what the Tavern League was there for you may find that your politics are misplaced.
    Let me explain.
    Closing time, statewide, for a tavern is 2:30 AM on Sunday morning. Daylight savings time starts at 2:00 AM Sunday morning. This could either give the tavern owner an extra half an hour or a half an hour less of business.
    A half an hour has no real monetary affect on the tavern owner per se.
    The real issue is with the police in different cities and municipalities.
    Last year 7 police depertments issued tickets to tavern owners they thought were serving beyound the designated closing time of 2:00 AM, because of daylight savings time they set their clocks ahead at 2:00 AM, thus making it 3:00 AM. If a tavern is caught serving after hours, it results in a minimum $500 fine, and closing up for 3 days. This does get into the monetary affect.
    All the tavern league wanted was a stae wide standard.
    Would it be any different if my city posted city speed limits of 2 MPH when your city has a 25 MPH limit?
    All they were asking for was a standard to operate by.
    99% of taverns in the state are law abiding business owners, who wish to remain law abiding.
    If you owned a small business yourself you may have realized this point before you wrote this article.

  2. February 28, 2007 8:06 AM

    I like how you got that code phrase “civil rights” into this little piece of yours. Now try to be honest and call it what it is “special rights”.

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