Student groups seek to repeal Social Host Ordinance

The Social Host Ordinance, a piece of legislation passed by the Eugene City Council in late January, is being petitioned by ASUO Sen. Lamar Wise and Kevin Cronin, executive director of the Lane County Young Democrats. The two student leaders began gathering signatures this week in hopes of bringing the legislation to a public vote. The city council unanimously approved the measure, which imposes fines of up to $1,000 on anyone who hosts a “party or gathering” that violates the ordinance, on Jan. 28.

Wise and Cronin have two years to collect the 7,800 signatures necessary to put the repeal up for a public vote. Cronin told The Emerald that the Lane County Young Democrats’ goal was to have Eugene voters weigh in during the 2014 primaries. He said he’d rather not dedicate a special election to this issue alone in order to avoid putting an unnecessary tax burden on the city’s residents.

More than 2,000 signatures have been collectively gathered between efforts on the UO campus and at Lane Community College. Cronin says this is more than the number of votes Eugene City Councilor Alan Zelenka (D-Ward 3) secured for his re-election.

“He’s the face of the measure to students,” Wise said.

If Zelenka doesn’t publicly support the ordinance’s repeal after all 7,800 signatures are collected, Cronin says the Young Democrats would seek a representative to replace him on the council.

“We’re going to hold our elected officials responsible,” Cronin said.

The ordinance went into effect March 2 but will not be enforced until April 1 in order to give Eugene and University Police a month to spread awareness of the law. The decision to implement the ordinance rested with the city council prior to its passage in January. Cronin, Wise and their respective student groups had to wait until the legislation took effect in order to appeal it in an official capacity.

Zelenka could not be reached for comment as of press time.

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