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Wednesday, July 30, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 77.0° F  Partly Cloudy
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MADISON.GOV

14 people past last call on Madison's new no-alcohol-sales list

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Scott, who asked that his real name not be used, is miffed by a new city ordinance that makes it a crime for stores to sell alcohol to him and 13 other people. "It sucks," he says. "I've only got one ticket."

Nevertheless, last Sunday afternoon, Scott had no trouble finding alcohol. Sitting on a bench on State Street near the Capitol Square, he sipped from a 16-ounce Budweiser while talking to a reporter about the new restriction.

The list of "Known Habitually Intoxicated Persons," which includes names and photographs, was distributed to stores last week. If stores sell to anyone on the list they face fines of up to $1,000. Bars are exempt from the ordinance.

Scott says he drinks about every other day. He doesn't think the new law will stop him from getting alcohol.

Jeff Coleman, a former homeless man who is not on the no-sell list, says the law clearly targets the homeless population. Only two people on the list have permanent addresses.

"College kids walk around with an open beer and nobody does anything," says Coleman. "If [a homeless guy] walks around with a beer, three squad cars will pull over."

"It's kind of like taking away your civil rights," he adds.

Mark Woulf, Madison's alcohol policy coordinator, denies the new law targets the homeless. There were young people with a high number of violations who came close to the threshold but didn't hit it - six in the past 180 days - to be put on the list. Woulf says the "Scott" Isthmus interviewed actually has nine alcohol-related violations, including ones for having an open container and depositing human waste.

Those on the list can appeal to be removed after 180 days without a violation; they're automatically removed after a year without incident. Still, Woulf expects the list will grow, not shrink.

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