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|Critical Questions Asked Of Social Host Ordinance
|FIRST REPORTED: 8:48 PM 3/4/2013 The ordinance was only on first reading, but the Galesburg City Council could be seen staking out positions on the much discussed social host ordinance.
The measure worked its way through the Liquor Advisory Commission late last year at the recommendation of a law enforcement advisor out of Champaign.
Social host seeks to make adults responsible with knowledge of underage drinking on their property.
While the draft ordinance circulated the commission, reducing the gray areas in the language was a primary concern.
Many on the City Council appeared fixated on just the opposite problem, with Ward Three Alderman Russell Fleming saying that it's an overstep on the City's part.
Liquor Advisory Commission member Tina Gummerson addressed the Council when questions arose. She says there are plenty of ordinances mirroring state statute, and this would in fact be stricter.
"Obviously our fines right here are higher than the state averages for many different types of ordinances," says Gummerson. "It is important for communities to adopt their own social host ordinances, many have preceeded Galesburg all over the state and all over the nation with their social host ordinances."
The Council requested more information, saying they wanted to speak to Galesburg Police on the ease of enforcing the state law.
Seventh Ward Alderman Jeremy Karlin says that not too long ago, arguments were being made that mirroring state statute on marijuana would be permissive.
"You came before us and argued that we should not have an ordinance that mirrored the state charge because it sends some type of message to children that we are being permissive and yet here today you are making an argument that is the exact opposite," says Karlin.
At issue was the apparent need to prove too many items in the verbiage before fines could be levied against those playing "host" to underage drinking.
Not all aldermen were critical of the language; however, First Ward Alderman Ken Goad says the City should adopt the ordinance now, and if there are problems the Council can always amend the measure.
"Sometimes the only thing people understand is what it's going to cost them when they violate an ordinance and that sometimes can be a deterrent to violating the ordinance if, so to speak, they know it's going to cost them an arm and a leg," says Goad.
The ordinance will come back for final reading at the next Galesburg City Council meeting.
If the measure is voted down, the commission has said in the past that it would rework the language to better fit the community.
|03 04 13 by Newsroom
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