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Freshmen arrive on campus as law that allows them to bartend goes into action

A new law that went into effect in August will allow individuals as young as 18 to serve alcohol, a move that proponents say can expand hiring pools.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed House Bill 2047 into law in March, changing the statute to lower the age to manufacture, sell, serve or handle liquor to18 years of age, down from the previous requirement of 19.

Rep. Jeff Weninger (R-Chandler) introduced and sponsored the law in January.  Weninger said that as a businessman he believes lowering the age requirement by a year expands the hiring pool.

Weninger, the owner of several East Valley restaurants, including Floridino's Pizza and Pasta, which serves alcohol, said he feels strongly about the statute. He said he hopes that young adults will become "easier to promote" and will no longer be subjected to age discrimination.

But the new law may have a minimal effect on hiring, said Madeline Tomlinson, an English studies freshman.

"It doesn’t really matter as much as probably a lot of people think it does,” said Tomlinson. "It's (a) one year age difference."

The law hasn't sparked strong reactions from Tempe residents. Tyler Byron, a bartender at Gringo Star Street Bar on Mill Ave. in Tempe said he’d heard a bit about the law and that he would be open to hiring 18-year-olds.

“Yeah, I don’t see why not," Byron said.
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Weninger said there is approval for the law across the state and that the new statute grants freedom to 18-year-old adults to make a decent living for themselves.

Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to HB 2047 as a bill. It is now a law.

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