SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Current Iowa law prohibits restaurant workers under 18 years old from serving alcohol to customers, but legislators may change that rule.
Iowa House File 14 would end the age requirement for restaurant employees to serve alcohol to customers. Dennis Peterson is the General Manager of Crankshaft Bar and Grill in Moville. He has six servers on his staff. He used to work at a restaurant in South Dakota when their legislature discussed this issue. He opposed the idea back then and still disagreed with it now.
“Allowing a minor who cannot consume the alcohol to serve the alcohol, what type of temptation does that create with those minors and if their friends are in here are they more apt under temptation to serve their friends?” Peterson asked.
He said the benefit of the bill is not worth the legal risks.
“My job is to protect my employer and the best way I can do that is by not having a minor server because it leads to legal issues,” Peterson said. “It leads to ticketing, and it could be criminal issues later on down the road.”
Republican Representative John Wills from Spirit Lake filed the bill. He said the current laws in Iowa on this issue are tedious and this bill would improve the workforce shortage.
“The state law doesn’t say anything about bringing the drink and disposing of it,” said Rep. Wills. “So, if somebody orders a drink and doesn’t drink it all, that server now can take that drink back to the kitchen and dispose of it. It just doesn’t make sense.”
The bill was passed by a subcommittee and Rep. Wills said he’s open to the possibility of setting a minimum age for restaurant workers to serve alcohol to customers.