Galesburg Looks At Social Host Liability Ordinance - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Galesburg Looks At Social Host Liability Ordinance

Updated: Feb 18, 2013 06:13 PM CST
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The City of Galesburg is trying to cut down on underage drinking. The city is working on the "Social Host Liability Ordinance" that would fine adults who provide alcohol to minors.

A recent Knox County survey showed 10% of 10th graders reported drinking and driving in the past year. In the same survey, 20% of 12th graders said they got behind the wheel after drinking. 

The Galesburg police department has been training to look for signs of underage of drinking at events, parties and gatherings. The city is now taking another step to prevent underage drinking.

"Most times when you look at the tragedies with young kids that loose their lives, you would find there's a common denominator and that is underage drinking," says Galesburg Mayor Sal Garza.

City council is getting ready to vote on a new law that would hold accountable those that allow underage drinking at parties or gatherings.

"If the folks there don't apply the safe guards to ensure that the people are underage don't end up drinking, then we have the opportunity to pursue them," adds Mayor Garza.

The organizers of the gathering or event will receive anywhere from a $250 to a $1000 fine. Police will have discretion when issuing the fines.

"The fine would go to the organizer of that particular event and it may be multiple people, but it would be the organizer that would be held responsible," says Mayor Garza.

If underage drinking is happening in a home and the homeowner is unaware, police will investigate to figure out who is responsible. The ordinance will not change the current law that fines anyone under 21 caught drinking.

"The hope is we can impact the culture of thinking as well," says Mayor Garza.

If council passes the ordinance in March, it will go into effect right away.