New Ordinance Could Penalize Adults for Underage Drinking

A new proposal being reviewed by the Barron City Council could fine adults who serve alcohol to minors in particular events that they host.

The proposed ordinance penalizes adults who allow teenagers to drink in their parties by up to $5,000.

drinking alcoholThru the initiative of the Barron County Safe and Stable Families Coalition, the rule under review is now in the hands of the Ordinance Committee, according to public health nurse Laura Sauve and public health program manager Kelli Engen from the county’s own Department of Health and Human Services.

Sauve confirmed that the coalition began campaigning against teen pregnancy but has taken the issue of teen substance abuse and as such, is making it their advocacy to keep kids safe. The group is headed by Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald and conducts their weekly meeting on Wednesdays at the Barron County Government Center.

It was just last April 9 that members of the coalition submitted their proposal to the Barron City County Police Committee which they patterned after other Wisconsin cities like Oregon and Wausau and from Fond du Lac County that have implemented similar rules in their own area.

The ordinance puts the responsibility of controlling underage drinking on adults, and should any adult go against the guidelines for serving alcohol to kids especially during parties, a corresponding fine of $1,000 to $5,000 will be collected as a consequence of their irresponsible acts.

“Cities can use their discretion to set penalties. We are suggesting a fine of $1,000 to $5,000 – enough to make you think twice about hosting a party where teens may drink,” Sauve commented. “This is our first attempt at passing it (in Barron).”

The said proposed rule is also supported by Mayor Dave Vruwink who, as a driver’s education instructor, knows how alcohol can damage or take away a life in an instant. “….Wisconsin is among the top states in the country for drunk driving – and northwestern Wisconsin, especially, is a problem area.”

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