(BINGHAMTON, N.Y.) — Mayor Richard C. David on Friday introduced a new local ordinance to reduce high-risk underage drinking in the City of Binghamton.
“This represents the most significant action in memory to reduce high-risk underage drinking in our community and limit parties that put young people in danger and disrupt neighborhoods,” said Mayor David. “This law will help hold accountable those promoting and hosting the types of events that can lead to unsafe situations for our college students and other young people.”
The new “social host” law enacts penalties for hosts of social gatherings if alcoholic beverages or drugs are being possessed, served to or consumed by a minor. The law applies to homes, apartments or any kind of dwelling unit, and adjacent amenity spaces, yards and open areas.
In the case of a fraternity house party, individuals on the lease or the entity that owns the property would be subject to prosecution or fine for hosting underage guests.
Violation of the ordinance is punishable by a fine of $1,000 or imprisonment for 15 days.
The City worked on the initiative with Binghamton University’s Campus and Community Coalition (BCCC), founded in 2018.
“The goal of the Binghamton Campus and Community Coalition (BCCC) is to reduce high-risk alcohol use and underage drinking, said Erin Monroe, Binghamton University’s College Prevention Coordinator for Alcohol and Other Drug Programs and BCCC co-chair. “The BCCC supports social host legislation because it is an environmental prevention strategy that is based in science. When coupled with other prevention strategies, Social host legislation has the potential to reduce high-risk drinking and some of the associated negative consequences.”
Previously, law enforcement had limited resources to hold accountable those who organized underage drinking parties or controlled the residences or spaces where they took place.
“Without a social host ordinance on the books, Binghamton Police would routinely respond to a large party with suspected underage drinking, assess the health and safety of participants and simply disburse the gathering — not having the means to arrest the hosts,” said Chief Joseph T. Zikuski. “Now, responding officers can immediately ticket those in charge of the party or refer the case to detectives for further investigation.”
In addition to enforcing a new social host ordinance, the Binghamton Police Department will continue to actively monitor and enforce violations of Governor Cuomo’s Executive Orders regarding gatherings during the COVID-19 crisis.
Legislation will be considered at City Council’s July 20 work session.
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