Senate advances crackdown on open house parties
Lawmakers moved a bill Monday that would impose harsher penalties on adults who violate Florida's house party laws.
It is a misdemeanor in Florida for an adult hosting a party to not try to stop someone under 21 from drinking alcohol. It is punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail.
The bills (HB 105/SB 746) would up the penalty to a maximum of one year in jail, if the case results in serious injury or death, or involves a repeat offender. Maximum fines would leap from $500 to $1,000.
The Times published a story about the bill -- and tragedies stemming from Pinellas County house parties -- last week. Read here. An adult is charged for violating this law about once a month in Pinellas County.
The Senate Criminal Justice Committeee passed the bill, sponsored by Sen. Thad Altman, R-Rockledge, unanimously Monday, the second Senate panel to do so. The bill needs one more favorable committee vote before it is eligible for a vote on the Senate floor. The Budget Committee has not placed it on the calendar.
Altman introduced a similar bill last year but ran out of time, according to the Times story.
The House companion, sponsored by Rep. Tom Goodson, R-Rockledge, has sailed through committees but has not been debated by the full House.