Up to $1,500 fine under new Tempe Social Host Ordinance

The new Tempe Social Host Ordinance takes effect February 1,2012  and makes adults responsible for their children consuming alcohol, whether they are present or not.   For a first offense parents will receive a $250.00 fine which will increase to $1,000 for a second offense and $1,500 for a third offense.    What are your thoughts regarding this new ordinance?

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Tempe City Council Approves Social Host Ordinance
Tempe, AZ – The Tempe City Council has approved an ordinance presented by the
Tempe Coalition to amend the Tempe City Code relating to Large Parties, Gatherings
or Events. The revised ordinance will become effective in 90 days and is now known as
“Nuisance Parties and Unlawful Gatherings”. This revision will hold adults responsible for
serving alcohol to children, other than their own, who are under the age of 21. A police
service fee will be issued upon first response, though offenders may be eligible for a
substance use education class in lieu of the first-time police service fee assessment.
The Tempe Coalition, a partnership with the City of Tempe and Tempe Community
Council, was instrumental in bringing this proposed ordinance revision forward. Tempe
Coalition’s mission is to help our youth reach their full potential by reducing underage
drinking and drug use within our city. The Coalition receives funding from Magellan
Health Services and recently received a federal Drug Free Communities grant to further
its work.
As a result of increased research and data on early alcohol and drug use in relationship
to addiction, brain development and increased health and safety risks, the Coalition
felt strongly this is an effective way in which to educate both adults and youth as to the
dangers of early alcohol usage. Research shows that the brain is not fully developed
until the ages of 21-25 and that those who start using alcohol on a regular basis before
age 15 have a 40% chance of alcoholism, as compared to a seven percent chance for
those who start regular use of alcohol at age 21. In Tempe, the average age of first use
of alcohol is 12.5 years of age.The Tempe Coalition is under Tempe’s Committee for Youth, Families and Community
whose members agree that with increased information and education we can
positively impact the future of our youth. According to Tempe Coalition Coordinator,
Bobbie Cassano, “we know parents often provide alcohol to their children and their
friends because they feel it is safer to have them drink at home; however, we now know
how important it is to educate parents that it is neither safe, nor healthy to provide
alcohol to young people”.
The “Nuisance Parties” relates to the previous “loud parties, gatherings or events” and
that portion remains the same as in the previous version. The “Unlawful Gatherings”
portion of the revised ordinance refers to what is often called a “social host ordinance”,
which targets any responsible person or host who allows a gathering where alcohol is
served to any minor, with the exception of a child or minor under the legal guardianship
of the providing adult. The responsible person includes the property owner, or individual
in charge of the premises, or the person who organized the unlawful gathering. If the
responsible person is a juvenile (under age 18), then the responsible party also includes
the juvenile’s parents or guardians. The goal of this ordinance is to provide early
intervention through substance use education for the responsible person(s).
About Tempe Community Council
TCC is a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to connect those in
need with those who care. TCC does this by convening community, conducting
research, determining priorities, implementing effective programs and exemplifying
prudent stewardship of resources. 34 East 7th
Street, Building A ▪ Tempe, AZ 85281 ▪
480.858.2300 ▪ www.tempe.gov/tcc