Friday, February 05, 2010

With Mom and Dad in jail, Junior is SURE not to drink!

My 14yo's school sent me an e-mail yesterday, urging me to support passage of Mississippi House Bill 722, the "Social Host" bill as they call it:
Summary of the Bill - The “Social Host Bill is designed to prohibit adults from allowing a party to take place at a private residence/premises where alcohol is being consumed. This applies to any adult who knows or who should reasonably know that alcohol is being consumed. Violators of this act are punished with a misdemeanor and would receive criminal penalties in the form of a $1,000 fine and/or county jail imprisonment up to 90 days.”
I wrote back that I wasn't quite sure which of my son's friends' parents I would want to see jailed under such a law, but I appreciated learning the school's attitude towards the parents.

Call me an unreconstructed Democrat bleeding-heart, but I do not think that criminal penalties for parents are a particularly appropriate tactic here. And while there are doubtless crimes where one "reasonably should have known" this or that, the standard still makes me uneasy. My kid has a sleepover and they creep out of bed at 2 a.m. to sneak some bourbon out of the cabinet. Should I reasonably have known they would do that? Why didn't I have the cabinet locked? Why did I even have alcohol in my house? Do I want a jury to make these decisions?

Anyway, here's a list of the Judiciary A committee members whom I've been urged to write to and encourage to make parental negligence a crime. I may work up a letter, but not one the school had in mind. (Bonus question: why does a House committed have 30-odd members?)
Judiciary A committee-

Edward Blackmon-chairman

Angela Cockerham-vice-chairman

Mark Baker

Earle Banks

Jim Beckett

Cecil Brown

Kimberly Campbell Buck

Credell Calhoun

Gary Chism

Bryant Clark

Alyce Griffin Clarke

Linda Coleman

Mary Coleman

J. P. Compretta

William Denny, Jr.

Jim Ellington

Tyrone Ellis

James “Jim” Evans

Andy Gipson

Philip Gunn

Steve Holland

Greg Holloway, Sr.

Robert Johnson, III

Bennett Malone

Rita Martinson

Kevin McGee

America “Chuck” Middleton

Bobby Moak

John L. Moore

Harvey Moss

David Norquist

Jimmy Puckett

Tommy Reynolds

Walter Robinson

Ray Rogers

Ferr Smith

Greg Snowden

Jessica Upshaw

Percy Watson

Tom Weathersby

Adrienne Wooten

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