The House of Representatives has approved a measure introduced by Sen. Mike Hewitt to allow alcohol tasting – but not consumption – among certain college students under the age of 21 who are enrolled in beer wine and culinary programs. The idea for Senate Bill 5774 was brought to Hewitt by officials at the Walla Walla Community College and the bill now moves to the governor’s desk for his signature.
“I’m glad my legislative colleagues were able to see that this bill is about enhancing a student’s understanding of a vital part of their future career and not about encouraging underage drinking,” said Hewitt, GOP-Walla Walla. “There are strict sidebars in the bill that ensure the focus will be on professional development. As I have said, this is every bit as essential to these student’s learning as allowing biology majors to interact with plants would be.”
SB 5774 creates a special permit for community colleges with beer, wine and culinary programs to allow students aged 18 and over and enrolled in those programs to taste, but not consume alcohol. Barring a gubernatorial veto the bill will become law automatically and take effect on July 28, which is 90 days after the adjournment of the 2013 regular legislative session.