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Proposal pushes for wedding barn regulations

Menomonie (WQOW) - A portion of a draft bill would require private venues, such as wedding barns, to be licensed by the state.

The bill was proposed by Representative Rob Swearingen, the former head of the Wisconsin Tavern League. It calls for the Department of Revenue to issue property owners a permit in order to rent or lease out property for an event where alcohol will be consumed.

It would also require venues to pay a $2,000 biennial fee for the permit.

John Govin, owner of the Weddin' Barn in Menomonie, says venues like his have operated legally for years, adding the bill is just a way for the Tavern League to push out their competitors.

"We never wanted to operate a tavern," said Govin. "That's not our goal, to operate a tavern. We operate a venue that's leased to a couple for a weekend so they can get married at the place of their choice. They have purchased their alcohol legally. We're not doing anything wrong, but there sure is a big push to control us."

The bill would also not allow private venues to operate after midnight.

Last year Weddin' Barn sued the state over a similar proposal, requiring venues such as theirs to obtain a liquor license to operate legally. That proposal was subsequently dropped.

Victoria Saha

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