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Oct. 7, 2011

Council reviews curfew

by Srividya Murthy, Print Managing News Editor
The proposal to enact a teen curfew in Montgomery County is being revised by the County Council's Public Safety Committee and will be submitted for a vote this November.

The fiercely contested bill would establish a curfew for youth under 18 from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Mondays through Fridays, and from midnight to 5 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The bill has undergone several modifications since its original proposal in July, said Neil Greenberger, legislative information officer for the County Council.

In the latest provisions to the bill, parents are no longer held accountable if their children are caught violating the curfew, and curfew violations would be considered civil, not criminal offenses. The adapted bill also accounts for situations in which minors are out after hours, but engaged in lawful activities, such as watching a movie.

According to Greenberger, police officers will not immediately report individuals without determining if a report is completely necessary. "This is not something where if they see someone they will immediately give a citation," said Greenberger. "Everyone might be on the streets for different reasons." Greenberger says that council members are trying to give police officers more discretion in protecting youth in local conflicts and are modifying the bill accordingly. "Council members are looking at alternatives in order to protect rights of residents under 18," he said.



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