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Longtime educator Mike Zoeller, a member of the Shelbyville City Council, is passionate about an ordinance, passed on first reading by the council during its meeting Thursday night, that would fine adults who allow minors to consume alcohol and drugs on their property.
The ordinance, which is a copy of a measure adopted in January by Shelby County Fiscal Court, is stricter than the requirements of Kentucky Revised Statutes because it does not require proof that the adults provided the intoxicants, only that they were present when the substances were consumed.
Elizabeth Pulliam, executive director of Shelby Prevention, had pushed the ordinance with the county and then asked the city council to adopt it as well, but that didn’t materialize until Thursday.
“You may recall that Ms. Pulliam came to us a few weeks ago and asked us to adopt this,” Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty said. “That’s why we have this ordinance to review.”
Zoeller, retired assistant principal at Shelby County High School and acting athletic director at Collins, said he believes underage drinking is a big problem and that everyone needed to be aware of the effect of this ordinance.
“We have graduation coming up Saturday-week [May 25], and that’s a big time for parties and this stuff,” Zoeller said at least twice during comments on the ordinance. “I hope we can get this into the newspaper so that people know about it.”
The ordinance drew unanimous support but won’t receive a second vote – and, thus, adoption – until June 6, when the council next meets, nearly a week after the graduation parties that motivated Zoeller’s remarks.
Shelbyville Police Chief Danny Goodwin said he thinks the ordinance “is fabulous.”
“This will make it easier because we don’t have the KRS burden to prove the owner of the property is responsible,” he said.
The ordinance uses terms such as “social hosts” and “supervised or unsupervised parties and other gatherings” and addresses the use and consumption of “controlled substances” and alcohol.
A violations would be considered a Class A Misdemeanor.
A citation would be issued to a violator and would include a mandatory minimum fine of $100 for the first offense of someone citing for violating the ordinance and a minimum of $200 for a second offense, including court costs.