WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 26, 2010, 08:15 AM

Moorhead social host ordinance in place

Moorhead, Minn. (WDAY TV) - If you live in Moorhead and are planning to host a party and serve alcohol to minors, you might want to think again. City council members tonight approved a new social host ordinance that can mean jail time and an expensive fine for you.

By putting this social host ordinance in place, Moorhead is now on the same page with more than 50 other Minnesota cities. People who violate the ordinance can spend up to 90 days in jail and pay a 700 hundred dollar fine, a misdemeanor charge.

The ordinance says that the host of the party can face these charges if he or she doesn't take reasonable steps to make sure minors don't drink. One of the main reasons the ordinance is needed is so Moorhead can still be eligible for state funding for programs like Safe and Sober and Operation Nightcap Jr. Another reason, Moorhead is a college town.

Police chief David Ebinger says there are a number of "party houses" near campus and it's a trend that needs to be controlled. He says his department will work with the campuses to make sure notice is given to students.

“The consequences I'm worried about are the three or four students we lose a year because they're intoxicated. Or the ones who get injured or end up ruining their futures because they get charged, they get out with frostbite. You know, we don't need to pull anymore kids out of the Red River.”

Moorhead officers will be trained on enforcing the new ordinance; Ebinger hopes to have them ready by this weekend.