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Wausau wants to change how alchohol waivers are handled

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A bartender prepares a beer in a bar. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz
A bartender prepares a beer in a bar. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) – Wausau city leaders want to change the way the city handles emergency requests for public drinking waivers.

In the wake of controversy over Exhibitour and the monster truck rally at Marathon Park, the public safety committee voted tonight to recommend changing who has the authority to hand out those waivers. Right now it belongs to the police chief and the head of the public safety committee, and current chairwoman Lisa Rasmussen says the process doesn't allow for transparency. “I'd rather this not come down to just one person or just one decision without an explanation.”

Rasmussen says requests for waivers came only four weeks in advance for Exhibitour, and the day of the event for the monster truck rally. Rasmussen says that's just not enough time for the city to take a look at what's going to happen at these events, weigh their decisions, and come back with an answer. She says it also doesn't allow for the public to weigh in, or view the process.

Under the new rules, the city council would have the power to waive those rules about public drinking, just like any other waiver request that comes through committee. Wausau Area Events coordinator Kari Rasmussen says she's amenable to those changes, mainly because it lets the city as a whole decide what to do. “Better to have 12 people decide, rather than just one or two.”

The city council will have to vote on the changes before they go into effect.

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