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Oklahoma State Senate
Senator Debbe Leftwich
Senate District 44

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For Immediate Release: February 20, 2008

Senator Debbe Leftwich
Sen. Debbe Leftwich

Senator Leftwich Says “Social Hosting” Bill Will Protect Oklahoma Minors

OKLAHOMA CITY- State Senator Debbe Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City, said today a “social hosting” bill she authored passed unanimously out of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee by a 12-0 vote and will now be heard by the full Senate.  Senate Bill 1530 holds the “host” of gatherings accountable for the illegal consumption of alcohol and drugs by minors.

Leftwich said this is a problem that needs to be addressed for the protection of underage children.

“There are a couple of nationwide trends we are trying to curb with this bill -- children with substance addictions and parents chaperoning the parties of their teens,” Leftwich said. “This bill will be an additional tool for law enforcement officials to apply the law in protecting these minors.”

Leftwich said those persons providing the location for underage drinkers will be held accountable and issued a citation.

“Any time we can increase the responsibility and liability of an adult provider to an underage minor, we are defending children’s rights,” Leftwich said. “We hope the fear of a stiff penalty will keep adults from contributing to minors. It is the responsible and right thing to do.”

Offenders will be given misdemeanor citations for a first and second offense and a felony citation for a third violation.  Each citation comes with monetary fines and possible incarceration. A first time offender can be fined up to $500 and a second citation would be a fine up to $2,500, while a third conviction is a fine up to $5,000. First and second time offenders could be sentenced to a year in jail and third-time offenders up to five.

She said there are provisions in the bill for people hosting parties who have taken all reasonable steps to prevent consumption.

“This social hosting law will compliment other state laws regarding the protection of our children and the consumption of dangerous and illegal substances,” Leftwich said.

Leftwich said SB 1530 makes supplying low-point beer, the favorite drink of teenagers consuming alcohol, to minors against the law.

SB 1530 is endorsed by the Governor’s Task Force on Underage Drinking and the Oklahoma Prevention Policy Alliance.

Former Edmond Mayor Saundra Naifeh, who helped shepherd the first municipal social hosting law in Oklahoma, has endorsed the Leftwich bill. Naifeh, along with several other members of the Governor’s Task Force on Underage Drinking, attended the bill’s hearing in the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.

Similar social hosting laws have been passed at the municipal level in Oklahoma, including the communities of Edmond, Yukon, Tecumseh, McAlester, Duncan, Elgin, Moore, Laverne, Owasso, Tulsa, Ponca City, Shawnee, Mustang, Weatherford, Broken Arrow, Enid, Bixby, Midwest City, Alva, Clinton, Buffalo and Elk City.

For more information contact:
Senator Leftwich's Office: (405) 521-5557

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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