At Next Tuesday's Denville Town Council Meeting (November 9, 2010) we are scheduled to introduce an ordinance regarding underage drinking. The entire Council, by way of consensus, agreed to put the ordinance through for introduction. This allows the ordinance to be officially introduced to the public for review. At a future council meeting, the Town Council will vote to adopt the ordinance. (Read the Proposed Ordinance Here)
Recently at our Town Council Workshop, I had several questions regarding the ordinance. I wanted to make sure it did not infringe on private property and our constitutional rights. Obviously, a local ordinance can never trump the Constitution. Essentially, the ordinance will allow the Police to cite an underage individual who is consuming alcohol on private property. However, they can not enter private property without consent or just cause. If there is a legal parent or guardian with the underage individual there is no offense.
State Law currently gives sole responsibility to the property owner if an underage individual is consuming alcohol on private property. This ordinance will allow authorities to hold the individual underage person responsible with a citation and local municipal court appearance. This ordinance will hopeful quell the massive problems of underage individuals consuming large amounts of alcohol on private properties where the property owners or other responsible adults are not present.
Again, the ordinance excludes cases with parental supervision and consumption of alcohol at private religious or other personal events & ceremonies.
However, I do recognize the power of unintended consequence so I hope you'll evaluate the proposed ordinance for yourself and let me know if you have questions or concerns.