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  • Hector Amezcua /

    Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata, is sponsoring a bill to allow underage college students studying wine and beer making to taste the fruits of their labors.

  • Hector Amezcua /

    U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista speaks at the Hyatt in San Diego on August 21, 2010 during the California Republican Party Convention.

The Buzz: Lawmakers poised to legalize campus drinking. Not really.

Published: Monday, May. 12, 2014 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Monday, May. 12, 2014 - 12:10 am

College is a time of experimentation, which for many 18-to-20-year-old students means some not-quite-legal forays into alcohol.

Now the Legislature could open a route for underage students to imbibe with California’s blessing. A bill heading to the Assembly floor would allow scholars of winemaking and beer brewing to taste alcohol as part of their coursework.

An Assembly committee last week advanced Assembly Bill 1989, by Assemblyman Wes Chesbro, buying the Arcata Democrat’s argument that students should taste the booze they’re learning to make. The legislation is restricted to students enrolled in enology and brewing programs, so elective-shopping students need not apply.

Some students graduate late because they can’t take tasting classes until they are 21, according to the University of California. Chesbro also cast his bill as a way to keep California students competitive, noting that other states – including Washington and Oregon – have made similar exemptions.

“Of course, we want to ensure we protect California’s reputation as a much better wine state than those states,” Chesbro said.

– Jeremy B. White


Though she was chosen as the next Assembly speaker in January and formally elected in March, Assemblywoman Toni Atkins will finally take over the lower house today. Among those in attendance for her swearing-in ceremony at 1 p.m. in the Assembly Chambers will be Gov. Jerry Brown. Atkins, a former San Diego city councilwoman who was elected to the Legislature in 2010, will be the 69th speaker of the Assembly. She is only the third woman, and the first openly gay woman, to lead the house.

– Alexei Koseff


“There is no place in any public discussion for this type of hateful and ignorant garbage.”

Rep. Darrell Issa, of Vista, on fellow Republican Tim Donnelly’s suggestion that Neel Kashkari supports Shariah law. Donnelly ultimately apologized.

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