Senate pushes ahead with 'alcohol czar' bill despite foes

posted by Associated Press -

MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ The Wisconsin Senate is pushing ahead with a bill creating a powerful new ``alcohol czar'' position to enforce liquor laws in the state, even though Gov. Scott Walker and Assembly Republican leaders appear cool to the idea.

A Senate committee scheduled a public hearing on the bill Thursday, just two days after Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald introduced it. The new ``alcohol czar'' position would have broad powers to enforce Wisconsin laws and regulations governing the production, distribution and sale of beer, wine and alcohol.

The measure is backed by the Wisconsin Wine and Spirit Institute, whose lobbyist is Fitzgerald's brother Jeff Fitzgerald.

Opponents include the Wisconsin Brewers Guild, the Wisconsin Winery Association and MillerCoors. 

Walker has not endorsed the idea and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos calls is a ``big lift.''

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