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Social Host Ordinance: 'The intent isn't to ruin people's lives, the intent is to get compliance'

Cerro Gordo County Sheriff Pals said people often forget that it's available for authorities to enforce.

Posted: Apr 10, 2018 9:55 AM
Updated: Apr 10, 2018 1:44 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa - Certain laws and ordinances are put in place to prevent underage drinking and avoid tragedies. That includes the Social Host Ordinance.

Kimberly Carpenter raised five daughters, and said she didn't and doesn't condone underage drinking.

"Why would you want to encourage children to do something that's illegal? I mean if you're going to encourage them to drink alcohol and it's illegal, you might as well go and teach them how to rob a bank," Carpenter said.

The Social Host Ordinance took effect in Cerro Gordo County back in 2009. It's a rule that hold adults responsible for hosting parties with alcoholic beverages where underage people are present.

"When we passed our ordinance we made it a civil infraction rather than criminal," Cerro Gordo County Sheriff Kevin Pals said. "So the intent isn't to ruin people's lives, the intent is to get compliance."

Sheriff Pals said people often forget that it's available for authorities to enforce.

"We all know that friends and family are the number one people that contribute alcohol to underage people," Pals said. "We have charged a few adults, including parents, who were hosting underage parties."

Carpenter thinks it's a good ordinance to not only enforce, but follow.

"I kept my kids involved in a lot of extracurricular activities," Carpenter said, "so they couldn't be involved in street activities."

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