The Pryor Times

Local News

June 28, 2014

Bottoms up to alcohol fines in LG Diana Dickinson

Pryor Times — The longest discussion in Locust Grove’s town hall special meeting on June 23 was trying to assess fines for violators who sell alcohol to minors or host social events allowing underage drinking.

Kathleen Kennedy with Pirates Don’t Provide, a CMCA (Community Mobilizing Change on Alcohol) project, presented two ordinances to the board of trustees for approval.

The Social Host Liability ordinance gives the town powers to enact laws to enforce, fine and punish violators who host environments for minors, regardless if it is private or rented residential or commercial property.

The Alcohol Compliance Check Ordinance permits any person designated for compliance checks to have access to the licensed premise for inspection or search without a warrant. The seller will be fined for the sale of the alcohol to a minor.  The fine can be as high as $2,500.

Trustee Terry Cooper said, “I think it is steep. What’s the whole thing about? Keeping kids from drinking or getting their attention?”

Meredith Frailey, the new town attorney said, “If that is the state’s amount, does that have to be LG’s amount, also?”

“Can we change it? It’s a statute. I do not think you can change those?” said Trustee Steven Perry.

“We can adopt our own and set it up in the ordinance. You guys pass the ordinance tonight, and take it to the courthouse and run it in the paper. Then 30 days after that is when it goes into effect,” said Town Clerk Tamatha Olgivie.

“If the amount is what needs changed, then let’s change it,” Perry said.

“So - for a first time offense it is $500 and they have to get an attorney.  Not saying they would sell alcohol to a minor, but they can make a mistake,” said Cooper.

“You can make a mistake on fake IDs at first glance, too,” said Mayor Heath Holman.

Cooper said, “I want them to look at IDs and also want to support businesses.”

“The liquor store does not get fined.  You can only fine the person who sells it,” said Kennedy.

“I just want people to check and do what’s right. I know $500 sounds like a lot but they can easily access that money. I know there is poverty in this town and the businesses have the right to refuse to sell...I just don’t want problems down the road,” Kennedy said.

“Can we change it if we want? The fees?” Perry asked.

Olgivie said the ordinance can be changed, but it is costly. A change would still need to be filed at the courthouse.

“I think $500 is enough for people to consider their actions. I would like to say that the best thing to happen from this is that there will be no violation. At least with money behind this, it will make them continuously check. Is it worth selling to underage kids or….to kids from Tulsa? I do not want Locust Grove to be the place kids come to buy alcohol. They will know we have a system in place. We don’t want them shoulder-tapping adults to buy them alcohol,” Kennedy said.

The board approved the ordinances and agreed that for a first offense the fine is not to exceed $250; the second offense not to exceed $1,000; and the third offense not to exceed $2,500.

The charges range from misdemeanor to felony and/or by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for not more than five years, or both fine and imprisonment and loss of licenses issued by the town of Locust Grove.  




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