Shelbyville set to enact 'social host' ordinance - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Shelbyville set to follow county in enacting 'social host' ordinance

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Shelbyville, Ky (WDRB) -- Shelby County is stiffening its rules on underage drinking. The city council is currently considering adopting an ordinance already passed by Shelby County which will hold adults accountable for their teens' bad behavior.

One of the ordinance supporters, Mike Zoeller, isn't just a high school athletic director.

"I treat each one of these kids as if they are my own kids." He is a father. "There were certain things we would allow, and there are certain things we wouldn't allow and they knew coming in here, here is where the expectations are."

He is also a Shelbyville city council member. When the ordinance came up for a vote this past Thursday, he voted to hold adults responsible when underage drinking happens on their property.

"Everybody thinks: I have a party here and my son's twenty years old and his friends come over, if they bring the alcohol, I'm not responsible," said Zoeller.

A misnomer no longer legal in Shelby County. It passed the same law back in January.

"It is way over due for something like this to be enacted," said Elizabeth Pulliam of Shelby Prevention. She says the ordinance seeks to protect teens from harm and even death.

"It's not just alcohol anymore that is a danger to youth, it's pills, it's synthetics, basically any controlled substance," said Pulliam.

Even if parents don't know alcohol or drugs are on their property, they are liable once it is in the hands of the minor. Those who break the ordinance risk a class A misdemeanor charge and $100 fine. They could also face potential charges for emergency response.

"If there is alcohol on the property and a juvenile is using it, yes, you will be charged," said Officer Kelly Cable of Shelbyville Police. He especially warns parents of those graduating, or even in their first years of college. "Even though their children are graduating or getting older, they still need to take the action to make sure they aren't doing that type of activity."

Pulliam of Shelby Prevention was the one who pushed the ordinance on the county, and now the city.

"If it is on your property, you should be monitoring what is happening on your property," she said.

Although she says no similar law exists across Kentucky, other cities and counties are working to pass similar laws. She also admitted, support was easy to find.

The Shelbyville City Council voted to adopt the measure this past Thursday, but it will go up for a second vote --and thus adoption-- June 6.

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