Underage Drinking & the Law

What parents need to know now about the new Social Host Laws

A miss, a very palpable miss.

I’m so disappointed, I could cry.

I was just notified by Dave Strohmaier, the Missoula Montana city councilman I have lauded on these pages, that they will be voting on the final approval of the ordinance, as amended, on Monday night. He was kind enough to send me the revised ordinance and I’m sad to say what could have been a major hit, an example for communities to follow, has in deed become a massive Missoula miss. To read the current version with all of the changes tracked, click here.

I’m posting an excerpt from the email I sent to Mr. Strohmaier earlier today:

In my opinion, this version criminalizes behavior by the very people you’re trying to protect. If society has determined that persons under the age of 21 are too immature developmentally to be permitted to consume alcohol, how can the law hold them responsible for the behavior of guests their age or older? It’s a conundrum! Who is a responsible adult? How can we have two sets of definitions legally for just this one area? I think you’ll find that you’ll be uncomfortable punishing the very group you started out trying to help. This version of the ordinance just went from a fair and reasonable law that a community can support to a potentially abusive one when it was decided to cross out the word “adult” from the definition of Social Hosts.

What do you think?

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