News in Brief: Davis City Council proposes underage public drinking restrictions

At Tuesday night’s Davis City Council meeting, the council unanimously voted to begin the process of examining an ordinance that would place limitations on underage drinking. The Minor Alcohol Preclusion Act Ordinance would make it illegal for anyone under 21 years old to have a blood alcohol content equal to or greater than .01 percent on any street or highway, in any public place or in any place open to the public.

According to a staff report, the ordinance is intended to deter underage alcohol consumption. Those in violation of the proposed ordinance would face fines or other citations.

Before making any decisions about the proposal, the councilmembers approved sending it to the City-UCD Student Liaison Commission, headed by ASUCD President Adam Thongsavat, as they want input from the commission.

The commission will hold a special meeting to come up with recommendations about the proposal for the council.

At the council meeting Mayor Joe Krovoza said it was important to get most of the feedback on the proposed ordinance from community. He wanted to hear most from the city’s police chief, Landy Black, and his staff. Krovoza was also concerned with how reasonable cause would be applied in the community.

Councilmember Dan Wolk said with the proposal coming up very quickly, input is important, especially since this is a significant ordinance.

Councilmember Sue Greenwald had mixed feelings about the potential ordinance.

“My mind is not made up on this,” she said. “I want to think about the civil liberties implications, whether it really is a deterrence or not. Prohibition didn’t work and I’m concerned about young people being arrested for feeling that the police are not on their side to a larger degree.”

“Twenty-one is a pretty high drinking age,” Greenwald said. “I’m not sure I want to be on the forefront of the very aggressive enforcement of behavior that for the most part only hurts the person.”

This proposal is modeled after a similar ordinance in another county.

If approved, the ordinance would become effective 30 days after its final passage and adoption. Jan. 24 is the next slated date for a council meeting and the council is hoping to receive recommendations from the commission before this date.

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