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City Explores Social Hosting Ordinance To Curb Underage Drinking At Parties

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
Councilman Rey Saldaña addresses the San Antonio Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee."

Hosting a party where minors are drinking alcohol in San Antonio could get the hosts or property owners hit with a $300 fine.  The proposed ordinance was approved by the City Council’s criminal justice committee Wednesday and now heads to the full council.



Under current law, when a party is busted by police for underage drinking, only the minors found in possession are cited. District 4 City Councilman Rey Saldaña wants to change that. “The social host ordinance creates the ability for us to provide a civil penalty to that property owner or adults responsible for that party to also be cited,” he said.


The fine would be $300 for the first offense and $500 for additional violations. It applies even if a parent is not home and their kids throw a party with alcohol without permission.  However, Saldaña says there would be an appeal process if a parent can prove they did not know. But if you’re doing that consistently time and time again than there’s obviously bigger problem that your home is being used because it’s not being enforced by the property owner or adults who are present.”


The ordinance is supported by the San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Its CEO, Abigail Moore, says adults providing alcohol to minors need to be held responsible. “It should be ‘It’s my kid, it’s my call,’ other adults should not be providing alcohol to my underage children and so those are the things that concern us,” Moore said.


The agency will conduct the education campaign and the hope is to reduce the amount of underage drinking through this ordinance. The full San Antonio City Council will likely take up the ordinance in October.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules