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Senate Sends Cody’s Law to Governor
Thu, 19 May 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 19, 2011) – Legislation on its way to Gov. Mary Fallin would strengthen the penalties for social hosts who knowingly and willingly permit those under 21 years of age to consume alcohol during social events taking place on their premises.

House Bill 1211, by state Rep. Dan Kirby, would make a first violation of Oklahoma’s social host law result in a misdemeanor and fine of up to $500. A second violation would result in a fine of up to $1,000. Further violations could result in a fine of up to $2,500 or incarceration for up to five years. If a bodily injury or death occurred, the social host could face a fine of between $2,500 and $5,000 and up to five years of incarceration.

The legislation would also allow cities to enforce current laws regarding low-point beer sales in the same way they currently enforce liquor laws.

“This legislation means so much to the parents who have lost a child in a situation involving adults who allowed that child to consume alcohol,” said Kirby, R-Tulsa. “Giving children or even young adults alcohol is a criminal act and one that can result in terrible tragedy. A 16-year-old boy, Cody, died from an alcohol and drug overdose in an alleged social host situation. He is the inspiration for this legislation, known as Cody’s Law.”

At the time of Cody’s death, there was no social host law in Oklahoma. Since then, his mother, Tulsa resident Sareva Greenhaw, has been fighting to combat social hosting.

In 2009, Kaitlyn Mounce was killed by a 16-year-old drunk driver who was given alcohol by parents at a parent-hosted party for young kids. Her parents made it to the scene of the wreck and layed with her for hours, according to her mother, Shari Mounce. Though the social hosts were prosecuted and received jail time, the sentence was not long enough, she said.

“This is a scene that no other parent in the world should have to endure,” Mounce said. “Cody’s mother was trying to get social host laws passed even before Kaitlyn was killed. It is well past time for this law to be passed. If it had been passed sooner, Kaitlyn Mounce might be alive today. People who give minors drugs or alcohol should be held accountable for their actions.”

Both chambers of the Legislature passed House Bill 1211 unanimously. If signed into law, the legislation will take effect Nov. 1, 2011.