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Wis. AG: Private Event in Public Space Needs Alcohol License

An informal opinion by Wisconsin's outgoing Republican attorney general about liquor licenses has a conservative law firm upset. An informal opinion by Wisconsin's outgoing Republican attorney general about liquor licenses has a conservative law firm upset. |  Photo: WDIO-TV file photo

Updated: November 26, 2018 02:22 PM

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel says private events in public spaces need liquor licenses.

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Schimel quietly issued an informal opinion Nov. 16 at the request of state Rep. Rob Swearingen, a member of the Assembly tourism committee.

Swearingen asked Schimel to interpret statutes that prohibit owners of public places from allowing alcohol without a license. The statutes don't define public places.

Schimel wrote there's no distinction between a public place that hosts an event open to everyone and a public place that can be rented out for a limited private event.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative law firm, issued a news release Monday calling the opinion an "extreme interpretation" that threatens wedding barns. The firm says an event on private property clearly isn't a public place.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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