City leaders in two Iowa communities have approved new ordinances in hopes of controlling youth behavior. In Iowa City, it will soon be illegal for anyone under the legal drinking age of 21 to be in a bar after ten at night. Currently, anyone over the age of 19 can enter an Iowa City bar.
That will change on June 1. University of Iowa officials campaigned for 21-and-over ordinance saying it will help combat problems with binge drinking among college students. Wallace Loh is the U-of-I Provost. “There are no simple solutions and this will not solve the whole problem, but it’s certainly a very important first step,” Loh said at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Iowa City City Council.
Opponents of the new ordinance are circulating petitions forcing the question to another citywide referendum. Voters rejected the under-21 ban in 2007. In Charles City, the city council is establishing a curfew prohibiting minors under 15-years-old from public areas between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Charles City Mayor James Erb says the new curfew is aimed at protecting children and determining parental responsibility.
Erb says the curfew includes an option of fining parents if authorities feel the child’s mother and/or father is at fault. “We’re not attempting to be punitive, so much as being protective,” Erb said. If a juvenile violates the curfew, police can simply direct the child to go home, take them home or arrest the young person. Mayor Erb says Charles City’s curfew will take effect as soon as it’s published – probably this Friday.
By Dave Franzman, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids