Swift County board to consider social host ordinance

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by Reed Anfinson, Editor

Swift County Sheriff John Holtz has asked the county board of commissioners to consider adopting a social host ordinance.
The ordinance would be aimed at adults who host parties at which alcohol is provided to minors. “This ordinance prohibits and establishes penalties for any person hosting an event or gathering where alcohol is present and being possessed or consumed by persons under 21 years of age,” the lead sentence of the proposed ordinance says.
“It gives us a little more leverage to be able to deal with some of the people who are doing this,” Holtz told commissioners at their meeting last Tuesday.
The ordinance goes on to say that its purpose is to discourage underage possession and consumption of alcohol – “even if done within the confines of a private residence.” The ordinance says that the person hosting the event as well as anyone providing the alcohol would be held criminally responsible.
Even if the host does not supply any of the alcohol, he or she would be held accountable if the county board approves the ordinance. Further, the “host” doesn’t even have to be present to be criminally charged with hosting the party.
The ordinance does add that it does not apply to children who are only having a drink with their parents in the parents’ household.
Commissioners will consider the first reading of the ordinance at 11 a.m., Aug. 20, in the Swift County courthouse meeting room.

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