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May 31, 10:18 PM EDT

Lawmaker wants lower soldier drinking age

By JR ROSS
Associated Press Writer

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- One Wisconsin lawmaker figures if the U.S. military trusts 19-year-olds with a $10 million tank, then the state should trust them with a beer.

State Rep. Mark Pettis, a Republican who served in the Navy, is pushing a bill that would drop the drinking age to 19 for Wisconsin soldiers - but only if the federal government agrees it will not yank an estimated $50 million a year in highway aid.

A federal law ties federal highway dollars to compliance by the states with the required drinking age of 21.

"We're treating these young men and women as adults when they're at war. But we treat them like teenagers when they're here in the states," he said.

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Pettis admits his proposal will be a tough sell unless Wisconsin gets the federal government's approval - or at least permission to start a pilot program to prove it will not cause more accidents or other problems opponents associate with a younger drinking age.

Wisconsin transportation officials say the federal government has told them there is no process to apply for a waiver from the drinking age requirement, and creating one would likely take an act of Congress.

The bill would create an exemption for 19- and 20-year-old soldiers from Wisconsin - but not for soldiers from out of state. A valid military ID along with a Wisconsin driver's license or identification card would be required.

A committee is expected to send the bill to the full Assembly for consideration next week, and Gov. Jim Doyle has said he supports it - as long as Wisconsin does not lose any federal highway money.

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The Wisconsin chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving has lobbied against the bill. Its executive director, Kari Kinnard, said statistics show there have been fewer highway fatalities, injuries and other problems associated with alcohol since the mandatory minimum went into effect in the 1980s.

She also said research shows the brain has not fully developed until people reach age 21. "It's for their own protection," Kinnard said.

© 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
 

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NegroRotary";p="66116 said:
About time, i was in Desert Storm at 18, why i can't drink at that age?
Because you are not 21. :lol: just kidding....They should allow the guys and gals overseas to kick back and suck down a good cold one. For godsakes they a risking their lives so that we can do that over here.
 

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But i don't like what he's doing, lower the age for those in the military, but not for the rest of the kids, If you are going to allow the one in the military, you should let everyone else, the military is not for everyone, this sound more like a recruitment tool
 

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Wolfman i didn't want to go that deep, but i hear you, I came to the State from Germany when i was 19, and i had to wait until i was 21, even tho i came from Irak.
 

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I dunno guys, I'm not sure I totally agree with that idea, there have been some good points made. I know that when we make port calls over seas the people under 21 are allowed to drink if that is the law in that country and if the CO allows it.
 

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The only reason the drinking age became 21 years ago is because states recieve major federal highway funds if they make it that way.
 

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Sounds good to me, I think they should get a free 30 pack voucher from uncle sam each month for the hell they are dealing with overseas.
 

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If you are in the military you should be able to drink at any age, that is to include the 17 year olds with parental consent. The rest of the country or at least MASS should have to wait like me.
 

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After being in the Marines for 4 plus years, I think that if the military wants to lower the drinking age, then thats fine if servicememembers purchase their alcohol from base exchanges only and at bars on base. If anything, it would save them money seeing all items on base are tax free when purchased from a store run by the military. It is also a fair compromise for all of those cry baby people who say "If underage military people can drink than why can't I?' seeeing that you are supposed to have a valid military ID to make the purchase.
 

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DVET,

I think that is a pretty good idea resticting to on post only. Although, it would be a dangerous place to drive with the idiot 18/19 year old privates racing around the base drunk in there aftermarket cars with their Briggs & Stratton motors and Vespa exhaust.
 

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DVET1979";p="66191 said:
After being in the Marines for 4 plus years, I think that if the military wants to lower the drinking age, then thats fine if servicememembers purchase their alcohol from base exchanges only and at bars on base. If anything, it would save them money seeing all items on base are tax free when purchased from a store run by the military. It is also a fair compromise for all of those cry baby people who say "If underage military people can drink than why can't I?' seeeing that you are supposed to have a valid military ID to make the purchase.
Sounds reasonable, and would give the MP's and DOD cops some more oui experience
:wink:
 
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