Senator Floats Bill That Could Lead To Creation Of More Handicapped-Accessible Bars

Proposal Tweaks Liquor Licensing Rules For Communitiies

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A state senator is floating a bill that would give communities the power to issue more liquor licenses than they’d normally be allowed to, should existing bars not be handicapped-accessible.

Wisconsin law currently limits the number of liquor licenses a community can issue based on its size. However, Ashland Democratic Sen. Janet Bewley said some people living with disabilities find it difficult to grab a drink in rural areas.

“We want to have the opportunity for a unit of government to issue an additional liquor license if after one year the existing businesses do not install a ramp when asked,” said Bewley.

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Pilsen resident Phil Lupa said he has trouble using the steps and outhouses at the town’s two bars after seven knee surgeries, but added that he doesn’t want to put anyone out of business.

“I’m just saying that we do have an establishment here that would cater to people who have physical disabilities so they can get in and out,” said Lupa.

Owners of the two bars in Pilsen could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires all businesses to provide access to their goods or services for people with disabilities. However, the law is enforced through the filing of complaints. Any changes that need to be made are based on the business size and resources.