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Bill Would Allow Culinary Students Under 21 To Taste Alcohol

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — A piece of legislation approved by an Illinois State Senate committee would allow Illinois students to take a sip of alcohol – provided that they don’t swallow it.

The bill, nicknamed “sip and spit,” was approved 12-1 by the state Senate Executive Committee. Only state Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) voted against it, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

SB 758, sponsored by state Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago), would allow culinary students over 18 to sample alcoholic beverages, but not ingest them.

Other restrictions would include tasting alcohol only during scheduled class time and being monitored by someone 21 or older.

Kendall College president Emily Williams Knight says students need to learn how to taste wine during their early years of culinary school, before some students turn 21.

Knight says such “taste training” is essential for understanding recipes and pairing drinks with dishes.

But opponent Anita Bedell of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems questioned how the schools would enforce rules against swallowing.

Trotter countered that a future amendment to the bill could cap the number of times the students could taste alcohol during a given course, the Sun-Times reported.

Any violation of the law would constitute a Class A misdemeanor, which can carry a $2,500 fine and up to a year in jail, the newspaper reported.

Rhode Island and Colorado are among states that have similar exemptions.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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