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Mankato ‘social host’ law could go countywide

Associated Press

MANKATO, Minn. — Mankato’s social host ordinance has helped meet concerns about under-age drinking, but it stops at the city limits.

That’s why some people in nearby communities like Pemberton and Mapleton hope Blue Earth County will enact a similar ordinance that makes it illegal for a host to knowingly provide a venue for under-age drinking.

County officials haven’t discussed the law during a formal meeting, but calls for it to be enacted have increased since Mankato passed its ordinance in November.

"It really makes the younger people think" about being more responsible to their under-age guests, Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges said.

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At a recent gathering of small-city mayors in Blue Earth County, commissioner Kip Bruender said he would support a county social host ordinance if the towns in his district support it.

Closer to the Twin Cities, Carver County had considered a social ordinance. The city of Chaska decided to pass its own ordinance, growing impatient with the county. At this point, Carver County officials are observing how the Chaska law works before moving ahead, commissioner Tom Workman said.

Workman and Bruender had questions about whether the law would mean adults must lock up their alcohol when leaving the house so that their children don’t drink it.

Kandiyohi County passed a social host ordinance after 16-year-old Kelly Bothun drank at a rural house party and was killed in a car accident while driving home Dec. 3, 2006.

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