Councilmembers introduce anti-loitering bill to counter youth curfew

Nov. 10, 2011, 10:08 a.m. | By Maureen Lei | 8 years, 11 months ago

Montgomery County Councilmembers Phil Andrews (D-Dist. 3) and George Leventhal (D-at large) introduced Expedited Bill 35-11 on Oct. 25, a piece of legislation that would allow police officers to question individuals who appear to be loitering or engaging in unlawful behavior. According to Andrews, 35-11 is based on existing laws in Florida, Georgia and Wisconsin.

According to Leventhal, he and Andrews introduced 35-11 to counter Expedited Bill 25-11, the curfew bill. 25-11 was proposed on July 26 by County Council President Valerie Ervin (D-Dist. 5) on behalf of County Executive Isiah Leggett (D). If passed, it will give those under the age of 18 a curfew of 11 p.m. on weekdays and 12 a.m. on weekends. The curfew would last until 5 a.m.

Leventhal emphasized that 35-11 is fair to citizens of all ages. "It would not be limited by time or age...If a police officer believes someone is acting in a manner that is a threat to persons or property, then he can get information and possibly detain the person before another crime is committed," he said.

Photo: Councilmembers Andrews and Leventhal talk at a town hall meeting about the bill they co-proposed. if the bill becomes a law, police officers will be able to question loiterers.

According to Andrews, the anti-loitering bill takes data into consideration that the curfew bill does not. "The advantage of the anti-loitering bill over the curfew bill is that it is based on behavior rather than age. Most crime is actually committed by adults, and most crime is committed before 11 at night," he said.

Bill 35-11 will be presented at a public hearing on Nov. 15, and the County Council's Public Safety Committee will discuss the bill on Nov. 17. A series of worksessions will follow, said Andrews.

According to Leventhal, dates have not yet been set to vote on 35-11. "There still is not a consensus among councilmembers. It is possible that we won't vote imminently. It is possible that the deliberations may continue for quite some time longer," he said.

The Nov. 15 public hearing will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the County Council's Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. To sign up to testify, call (240) 777-7803.

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