El Paso

City's social host ordinance set to go into effect

Fines home owners where underage drinking occurs

Social Host Ordinance

EL PASO, Texas - The city will soon start cracking down on those who allow underage drinking to take place in their homes.

The "Social Host Accountability Ordinance" goes into effect Tuesday, June 6. Violators can face a fine of up to $1,000.

The ordinance was first introduced by city reps Michiel Noe and Courtney Niland.

"There are instances of tragedy when alcohol is involved in the death of a young person," Noe said. "I know that it's going to save lives."

A study conducted by Paso del Norte Health Foundation in 2016 found that 28 percent of high school freshman reported drinking alcohol, and about 17% reported binge drinking, or having 5 or more drinks in a row on one occasion.

Some reported being in a car with a driver who had been drinking, while one in four said they had driven after drinking alcohol. 

Noe said he thinks this new ordinance will make parents think twice about letting their underage children party at their home.

"You don't need to buy a keg of beer, or buy a bunch of tequila and make margaritas, even beer pong. Whatever you're doing, don't do it. Look at all of the tragic events that have happened in the past," Noe said. "I don't want to write a check for $1,000 just so my kid can have a few beers in the back with his buddies. It's not worth it."

Monica Pulido, who has a sophomore at Montwood High School, said she appreciates the ordinance.

"I think it'll change parents ways of thinking of letting underage drinkers at their home because they're going to get fined," Pulido said. 

This ordinance does not take the place of the fine involved with providing alcohol to minors. That's a Class A Misdemeanor in Texas with a fine of up to $4,000.

"You still to this day, have the right to serve your child alcohol. You can do that. What you do not, and never did, and never will, probably, have the right to do is give any alcohol to other peoples' children," Noe said.

The ordinance states that if a party involving underage drinking takes place, when the property owner is not around, the owner will get a warning. After that, they could be subjected to fines. 

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