Sen. Claire Celsi.

A committee in the Iowa Senate has narrowly approved a plan to give Iowa restaurants and bars permanent permission to sell mixed drinks to go.

Governor Reynolds ordered restaurants and bars to close on St. Patrick’s Day due to the pandemic, but she issued a proclamation on March 31st that allowed bars and restaurants with a liquor license to sell carry-out cocktails along with carry-out food.

Senator Claire Celsi, a Democrat from Des Moines, said she’s “no prude,” but continuing this practice now that bars and restaurants have been allowed to reopen is unwise.

“We’re setting a terrible example for our youth, just having a cocktail culture in this state,” Celsi said, “and it’s getting worse and worse and worse.”

Another senator suggested it’ll be easier for someone to pass mixed drinks to minors, making some 21-year-olds the “hit of the parking lot.” Senator Craig Johnson, a Republican from Independence, said the proposal does NOT lift the state ban on consumption of alcohol in a public place.

“These are sealed drinks,” Johnson said. “It’d be no different than what you would buy in a convenience store, one off the shelf.”

The proposal also would let the state’s vineyards sell so-called growlers that hold up to 72 ounces of wine and it would create a new state permit for selling beer and spirits at charity events. This package of changes in Iowa’s alcohol laws cleared the Senate State Government Committee on an 8-7 vote late Friday night and is eligible for debate in the full senate.