Jurney backs Kintigh curfew

February 20, 2011 • Local News

Roswell’s mayor is throwing his support behind a local state lawmaker’s attempt to push legislation that would allow [auth] municipalities to enact cur few laws for minors.

In an e-mail to members of the House Judiciary Committee, Mayor Del Jurney asked the lawmakers to approve Rep. Dennis Kintigh’s, R-Roswell, bill that would give local governments the authority to restrict minors from being unattended in public at night and would also give police the power to escort truant children back to schools during the day.

“It is imperative that municipalities have the tools necessary to address the growing concern of youth activities during normal school hours, as well as during late night hours,” stated Jurney in the letter.

“I believe that this piece of legislation will allow us to begin that process.” Jurney’s support of the measure makes it likely that the city of Roswell may be one of the first municipalities to move to enact the ordinance if the bill were to be signed into law. Kintigh’s measure cleared its first hurdle earlier in the month, after it made its way through the House Health and Government Af fairs Committee.

The bill’s next stop is the Judiciary Committee, where lawmakers will likely hear arguments on the proposal’s possible constitutional limitations. According to the law, police who find minors out past cur few are obliged to contact the child’s parents or actually drive the child home.

Minors cannot be put into juvenile detention centers, and municipalities would be required to set up a separate area to hold detained individuals. It’s being opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which helped strike down a similar curfew attempt by the city of Albuquerque in the 1990s.

Despite the obstacles, Jurney says the proposal would help keep youth safe and could greatly benefit local communities. “I don’t want to limit freedoms, he said in the e-mail. “I do, however, want to encourage the ability of municipalities to create a safer environment for our youth.” Kintigh’s bill has yet to be scheduled on the Judiciary Committee’s agenda.

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