Home > La Crosse May Soon Fine Adults That Host Underage Drinking
La Crosse May Soon Fine Adults That Host Underage Drinking
20 Other Wisconsin Municipalities Have Similar 'Social Host' Ordinances
By Maureen McCollum
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 3:45pm
La Crosse may soon join the list of Wisconsin communities that have adopted social host ordinances – laws that hold adults accountable for providing a location for underage drinking, even if they don’t provide alcohol.
More than 20 communities have a social host ordinance in Wisconsin. The laws potentially apply to parents overseeing a post-prom party, older siblings who allow underage siblings to drink while parents are out of town, or college students throwing a house party. Fines generally run from $1,000 to $5,000.
La Crosse’s city council has introduced a social host ordinance that will soon be up for public debate. Police Sgt. Randy Rank says if the ordinance passes, it will be another tool the department can use, especially when it comes down to breaking up large college house parties.
“The ordinance makes it a little bit easier for us to bring charges for violations than it does us having to prove that they’re actually serving to these underagers,” said Rank. “Sometimes these kids will tell us, ‘We brought it in on our own’ – that type of thing.”
From 2009 to 2011, there were at least 83 house parties in La Crosse where multiple tickets were issued for underage drinking.
While the ordinance does hold a property owner or an event host responsible, it’s still unclear what the law would mean for landlords who own homes where underage drinking takes place.