New 'social host law' takes effect on New Year's Day

State also announces new youth contest to combat underage drinking

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[December 29, 2012]  CHICAGO -- As the clock strikes midnight for the coming new year, the important role adults play in keeping alcohol out of the hands of our children will be further defined, when new sanctions take effect on those allowing underage drinking in their home.

Sponsored by state Rep. Carol Sente and state Sen. Susan Garrett, the new legislation closes a loophole of legal accountability on those who knowingly allow alcohol consumption by minors.

"By protecting our youth, we protect our future," says Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who signed Public Act 97-1049 into law on Aug. 22. "Adults know it is unacceptable to allow underage drinking in their home. By putting a social host law on the books, we are sending a strong message to all adults that they will be held responsible when allowing this harmful activity."

Violators of the social host law, which takes effect on Jan. 1, will be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and subject to a fine of not less than $500 when they knowingly authorize or permit underage drinking in their home. If this activity results in great bodily harm or death to any person, the individual is subject to a Class 4 felony. However, a person will not be in violation if he or she has taken all reasonable steps to prevent this activity from occurring. Also, no charges will be filed if assistance is requested from law enforcement after discovery of the illegal activity.

"Statistics show that friends and family remain the primary source of alcohol for underage drinking," says Illinois Liquor Control Commission Executive Director Gloria L. Materre. "Just as our liquor licensees are punished when selling to minors, all adults will now be subject to penalties should they provide alcohol to minors."

Ray Rose, Mundelein police chief and co-chair of the Lake County Underage Drinking Prevention Task Force, who was instrumental in creating the law, noted: "For the past four years, the LCUDP has played a lead role in encouraging communities throughout the state to pass social host ordinances. By signing this law, Gov. Quinn demonstrates his commitment to protecting the future of all Illinois children."

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Statewide youth contest announced

Underage drinking prevention and education have always been a priority at the Liquor Control Commission, as best exemplified by its "Don't Be Sorry" public awareness campaign. Coming this spring, these efforts will see a renewed focus through the unveiling of a new statewide activity designed specifically by teens themselves.

"While our Don't Be Sorry program has been a great success, we are constantly looking for ways to improve its delivery," says Ted Penesis, education manager for the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. "Teenagers are the best resource to provide us with ideas to ensure our educational programs remain fresh and effective. Through this statewide art contest, we can learn from our youth as they submit designs for a new program to educate adults, teens and liquor retailers on the consequences of underage drinking."

A panel of judges will review submissions and choose the winning design. In April, the new educational campaign will be unveiled at media events located throughout the state. For contest guidelines, instructions, submission procedures and more, visit All copy and artwork must be submitted by the Feb. 15 deadline.

[Text from Illinois Liquor Control Commission file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]


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