Assemblywoman Sandy Galef Introduces Social Host Liability Legislation Holding Parents Responsible for Providing Minors with Alcohol

Law would allow local municipalities to set own penalties
May 9, 2008

Assemblywomen Sandy Galef has introduced sponsoring legislation (A.10566) providing that adults in control of private property are responsible for alcoholic beverages provided to minors at social events held on their property.

This legislation is in response to increasing incidents where minors have consumed alcohol at parties where adults are present. These instances have often resulted in accidents so that various towns and villages have passed social host laws that impose penalties on adults providing alcohol to minors or knowing that alcohol is being consumed.

Assemblywoman Galef’s legislation imposes criminal sanctions ranging from a fine of $100 to imprisonment of 10 days and a charge of reckless endangerment in the 1st degree. Charges become more severe for offenders if a minor operates a motor vehicle after drinking alcohol at the home.

There are exemptions from the proposed laws such as landlords, religious celebrations such as a Seder, or participation in an accredited and legally sanctioned academic curriculum. Landlords who rent property to tenants are exempt from the law. Local municipal laws imposing more severe sanctions supersede this legislation in those jurisdictions.

“This legislation will demonstrate that underage drinking is not acceptable,” said Assemblywomen Sandy Galef. “There have been numerous injuries due to alcohol poisoning and drunk driving and we must prevent future tragedies. This legislation will help decrease underage drinking levels, protecting our young adults and our communities.”

Putnam County Executive Robert Bondi supports the Legislation. “Putnam County was the first county in New York State to have social host liability laws passed in every town,” stated Bondi. “As such, we are pleased to see the state following our lead in addressing this important issue. We are especially grateful to Assemblywoman Galef for working to incorporate the local law exception into her bill so that the hard we have accomplished here in Putnam in creating a law with a harsher penalty will not be undone at the state level.”

“Underage drinking is still a major problem in our communities and adults should not facilitate alcohol consumption,” continued Assemblywomen Galef, “Adults instead should be teaching their children about the responsible use of alcohol. This legislation will target those parents who act irresponsibly and make them realize that underage drinking is dangerous and unlawful.”

For more information on the legislation, contact Assemblywoman Galef at 914-941-1111