Wisconsin Looks to Lower Drinking Age – Should South Dakota Do the Same?
Recently, lawmakers in the Wisconsin state legislature introduced a bill that would lower the drinking age in the state from 21 to 19 years of age.
Sponsors of the bill point out that there are very few things a 19 year old cannot do, except drink alcohol. They add that the change would reduce law enforcement costs by eliminating the need to enforce the current law.
The reason that the drinking age in the United States is set at 21 is because of a 1984 federal law called the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. The law made the distribution of federal highway funds conditional on states raising their drinking ages to 21. That money builds and maintains roads like the interstates, as well as lots of other things. Without the federal money those thing would have to paid for by the states, or more likely not be done at all.
South Dakota became a part of this debate in 1987 when the Supreme Court ruled on the case South Dakota v. Dole. In that case the state of South Dakota sued the federal government, naming then Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole as the defendant.
South Dakota's position was that it was unconstitutional for the federal government to force it to change it's current laws, which allowed 19 and 20 year-olds to purchase 3.2% alcohol, by withholding funding.
In a 7-2 decision the Court found that the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was not an unconstitutional use of Congressional authority under the Spending Clause, therefore the law stood.
If an 18 year old is old enough to join the military, sign a contract, go to prison, take out loans and make all the other decisions that we have designated as 'adult' in our country; then there is no reasonable reason that the drinking age should different. Especially in 2017.
What do you think?
Source: WITI-TV MILWAUKEE, WI