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Law may stop parental winks

A new Mississippi law aims at putting the “cool parents” out of business — and potentially behind bars, the steel kind.

For years, teenagers throughout the state and our community have depended on adults to obtain alcohol for parties. Each year, teens are killed and seriously injured in automobile wrecks and other alcohol-related accidents throughout the state.

If you ask some of the teens, they know whom the “cool parents” are, the ones who willingly provide alcohol to teens and host parties where underage drinking occurs.

Gov. Haley Barbour recently signed the “social host” bill that makes adults liable for knowingly allowing underage drinking on their property.

The law would include private property such as hunting camps and lake houses, too. Violations can be punishable by a $1,000 fine and/or 90 days in jail.

It’s already against the law to openly provide the alcohol to a minor. But the new law takes it a step further allowing prosecution for property owners who provide the location for the parties — regardless of who purchased the alcohol.

The new law, which takes effect July 1, is a good step in the right direction. While it will not curb all underage drinking, it may make a few of the “cool parents” stop winking and looking the other way long enough to save a life or two.

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