Older teens, or as some call them, young adults may soon have the chance to have more drink options at a restaurant, but only with parental supervision and consent.
Illinois has a proposed bill that will allow minors drink with parents. House Bill 0494 is specific to 18, 19 and 20-year-olds, specifically, in a restaurant with their parents.
The bill sponsor, Barbara Wheeler, is a representative from Northern Illinois and proposed this new legislation to allow minors to drink with parents, but wanted to make one thing clear - all of the laws around underage drinking are still in effect.
“We have a zero-tolerance law for minors, that would remain intact. All of our DIU laws will remain intact," Wheeler said. "We are not changing that. We are not watering any of those laws down, but we’re allowing a businesses to make a business decision and a parent to make parental decisions.”
The representative’s district is in the northern part of Illinois, close to Wisconsin, a state that already has this law in place along with nine other states in the United States.
One local restaurant owner, Tippy, is on board. “It’s generating revenue for our community and the state. Our surrounding states have these laws already put in place and they seem to working really well. And there is no reason we shouldn’t be a on board with this,” he explains.
Kevin Mechler, dad of a 17-year-old and a 21-year-old, has some worries about the possible consequences.
“I would share their concerns about driving and irresponsible drinking," Mechler said. "But much like what happens Europe, I would think if they learned to do it with their parents or under the tutelage of their parents, they might be more responsible about it and respect it and not have those sorts of problems.”
According to Representative Wheeler, the legislation could be debated on the house floor later this Spring once it is out of committee next week.