Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law a measure to allow 18-year-olds to taste — and spit out — alcohol in certain classroom settings.
Signed into law Tuesday, the bill allows community and technical colleges to offer alcohol to students as part of a culinary or alcohol-technology degree program.
Senate Bill 5774 passed the Senate by a vote of 42-7 in March. Earlier this month, it advanced from the House by an 89-4 vote.
The measure will take effect in July.
The new law will affect Walla Walla Community College students starting this fall.
Myles Anderson, director of the college’s Center for Enology and Viticulture, said the college has had to limit enrollment in some classes to students who are 21 or older because of the alcohol restriction.
Anderson said the new law will apply to wine, beer and spirit education programs as well as culinary arts programs at technical schools and community colleges in the state. Schools will need to apply for permits that would let students 18-20 years old enroll in the programs and participate in the tastings.
Walla Walla Community College supported the measure, with President Steve VanAusdle testifying in favor of the bill, Anderson said.
“I have been wanting a bill like this for 13 years since founding the first wine program in Washington at Walla Walla Commnity College,” Anderson said in an email. “We have a small waiting list of students underage who want to start our program and now will be able to do so.”
U-B reporter Maria P. Gonzalez contributed to this report.