On February 15, 20011 Sherburne County became the 12th county in Minnesota to add a social host ordinance to the books. Sherburne’s ordinance is concerning for three reasons: it was passed with minimal community involvement, it went into effect the day it was passed and it applies equally to adults and juveniles.
In a telephone interview on February 18, 2011 Sherburne County Sheriff Joel Brott said, “”Our ordinance doesn’t differentiate between juveniles and adults of any age.” In other words, teens share the same risk of arrest as do their parents and the sleaze ball who buys a keg for his 15-year-old.
According to the article, Sheriff Joel Brott told the Commissioners, “It may be hard to imagine, but it’s not uncommon for parents to leave for the weekend and tell their children it’s OK to have a party with alcohol as long as no one drinks and drives.” I asked Sheriff Brott for statistics on that claim. He said it wasn’t his best example although he had “run into it from time to time”.
Before the interview ended, Sheriff Brott asked me if other communities with Social Host laws in place have been successful. Perhaps that would have been an appropriate question to ask before convincing the Sherburne County Board of Commissioners to put one in place.