|Ordinance focuses on teen drinking|
|Written by Drew Zimmerman, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Monday, 02 July 2012 18:43|
The Washington City Council recently passed an ordinance from hosting events where underage visitors can obtain alcohol or illegal drugs.
McLean County Sheriff Mike Emery endorses the ordinance to prevent such activities from happening.
“This plays a big role in a child’s behavior if parents are laissez-faire about [underage drinking.] It still doesn’t make it right, but sometimes parents are away so they can’t help. But it’s up to them to teach kids right from wrong. I certainly support the ordinance, and if Bloomington–Normal picks it up on debate I’d be anxious to see a similar ordinance,” Emery said.
According to Washington Police Chief Jim Kuchenbecker, this ordinance is the first of its kind to be seen in Central Illinois. However, a similar ordinance was passed in nearby Mundelein.
“We’re pushing with the Tazewell Teen Initiative to get other communities on board. It is just another tool to put into our enforcement tool belt, and we hope it sends a message.”
“We won’t tolerate people buying liquor for underage people and we thought it made sense, but you can’t legislate common sense. I don’t think it’s a good argument for parents to have their kids drink at home, so we’re trying to have every tool to hold folks accountable for their actions,” Kuchenbecker said.
The ordinance was spearheaded by Washington Deputy Police Chief Don Volk, who worked with the Tazewell Teen Initiative after a high number of teen deaths, some of which were alcohol-related, five or six years ago when there were a total of 15 deaths within 15 months. There were a higher number of teen deaths per capita in Tazewell County than Cook County, according to Volk.
In response, the taskforce worked with the Tazewell County Health Department, county and state police, the Red Cross and the Illinois Department of Transportation to stop teen traffic deaths, such as changing configurations on rural roads and creating a tip line. Based on these changes, there weren’t any teen deaths for a long period of time, Volk said.
In Mundelien, an ordinance was passed after a drunk driving death in Deerfield, which led to many local communities passing social hosting ordinances.
According to the University of Illinois–Chicago website, there are four basic provisions of an Illinois Social Host Law.
First, persons over 18 who willfully supply alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs to a person under 18 years of age and cause impairment of such person are liable for death or injuries to persons or property caused by that impairment.
Second, recovery may be had by persons and their surviving spouses and next of kin who are injured, in person or property, by an impairment that was caused by the unlawful consumption of alcoholic
Third, a right of action exists in a person’s own name, jointly and severally, for damages against the person who sells, gives or delivers alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs, causing or contributing to the impairment of the person under the age of 18; or willfully permits consumption of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs on non-residential premises owned or controlled by the person.
Fourth, an action for damages under this new law must be brought within two years after the right of action arises or it is barred.