Okay, now pick your jaw up off the desk and listen to the rest of the story. This permission to drink comes with plenty of restrictions.
Let's start with the main reason the legislation is being considered at all:
- to assist students who are enrolled in a collegiate beer/wine/spirits technology program, culinary curriculum, or similar area of study.
These programs require that students be able to taste alcoholic beverages as part of their coursework.
Other restrictions of Substitute Senate Bill 5774 include:
- The students must be at least 18 years old.
- They must be enrolled in a technical or community college (interestingly enough, university students are not covered under this bill).
- They must be supervised by an approved instructor in an appropriate educational setting.
- They are not allowed to consume the alcoholic beverage - just taste it.
Since the beer, wine, and culinary industries are important to the state of Washington, lawmakers want to encourage student participation in these types of college courses. The bill passed the Senate and is heading to the House.
Naturally, some people are opposed to the measure, saying that it expands teenager access to alcohol.