Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus signed legislation on Tuesday at Monroe-Woodbury High School to enact a social host law in Orange County.
Neuhaus was joined at the event by District Attorney David Hoovler; Sheriff Carl E. DuBois; County Clerk Annie Rabbitt; Chairman of the Legislature Steve Brescia; Legislators Jim DiSalvo and Myrna Kemnitz; Monroe-Woodbury Superintendent of Schools Elsie Rodriguez; Monroe-Woodbury High School principal David Bernsley; Youth Bureau Director Rachel Wilson; and acting Town of Monroe Supervisor Tony Cardone.
According to information released by the County Executive’s office, the social host law is aimed at deterring minors from the consumption of alcoholic beverages by holding anyone 18 years of age or older responsible when they permit the consumption of alcoholic beverages by minors on premises.
“Underage drinking is a concern and the signing of this law sends another message that Orange County is serious about addressing it,” Neuhaus said. “There will be consequences for breaking this law and I think it will deter parents from hosting or allowing parties where alcohol is served. Hosting underage parties where alcohol is consumed is simply unacceptable. It won’t be tolerated.”
The Orange County Legislature unanimously voted on February 4 to pass a social host law. Under the new law, it will be illegal for homeowners or any host 18 years or older to knowingly allow underage drinking at their home or a party, or to not take action to stop underage drinking once they find out about it. The law will go into effect after it is filed with New York State Department of State.
The law will carry the following punishments:
First offense: Shall constitute a violation and carry a fine of $500. The Court will also order the completion of an alcohol awareness program and/or an appropriate amount of community service time not to exceed 30 hours.
Second offense: Will constitute an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $1,000 and a jail term, not to exceed one year; or both a fine and imprisonment.
“The safety of our students is paramount to all we do as a school district,” said Superintendent Rodriguez. “We want our families to know that we care about the well being of our students and give our support to this law that will hold adults accountable for the actions of children who are under their roof.”
Photo (above right): Superintendent Rodriguez addresses the crowd at the signing of the legislation to enact a social host law in Orange County. From left to right: Chairman of the Legislature Steve Brescia, County Executive Steven Neuhaus and Sheriff Carl E. DuBois.