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Public has one more chance to speak on social hosting ordinance
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The public has one more chance to voice their concerns on a proposed county ordinance that, if approved, would hold parents accountable if they allow their kids to host drinking parties with their friends.

A last of two required public hearings is scheduled during tomorrow's meeting of the Dawson County Board of Commissioners. The meeting is at 6 p.m. on the second floor of the Dawson County Government Center.

A group of supporters of the ordinance were present at the first meeting on June 18.

Teri Lynn Reed, a local mother of three, is on the community committee helping to push the initiative.

"I certainly don't appreciate when other parents allow it to happen at their homes, provide a place, provide the alcohol," Reed said. "This ordinance is just a good, basic step and a coverage to help me as a parent to have another thing to talk to other parents about and to talk to other school officials and other people in our community to let them know that Dawson County cares about our kids.

"I hope that this is something we can move forward with."

While there have been discussions that some believe enforcing the ordinance would infringe on private property rights, no one spoke in opposition during the first hearing.

Representatives with Dawson County Family Connection requested that the board consider the matter.
"Adults who supply alcohol to youth or knowingly allow underage drinking need to be held accountable," said Tiffany Davis, coordinator for the organization's Be the Key Campaign, which focuses on underage drinking prevention.

There are current laws in place that allow officers to charge underage individuals with possession or consumption of alcohol.

"Adults who supply alcohol to youth or knowingly allow underage drinking need to be held accountable," she said.

Sheriff Billy Carlisle said he supports the measure.

"State law says an adult can give their children alcohol in their own home, but you can't give it to someone else's kids," he said. "What this is doing is asking the adults not to provide alcohol to underage people or provide a location for them to come and have their underage drinking parties."

The ordinance also would not prevent adults from having parties and having alcoholic beverages at those parties.

"It's also not saying that you can't have alcohol at your home. What we've run into is ... parties where adults have allowed teenagers to come to their house for alcohol parties, and there's really nothing we can do about it," Carlisle said.

"But under that ordinance, the person that owns that property could be held liable and charged in magistrate court and it's up to $1,000 and community service."