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Coughlin & Sumter Bill to Establish Regulations for Businesses Hosting "Teen Social Night" Events Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel on Thursday moved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Craig J. Coughlin and Shavonda E. Sumter that would create statutes governing social events for youth at establishments which are primarily devoted to selling and serving alcoholic beverages.

“Teen nights can be great social experiences for young people in our communities as long as there are proper provisions in place to ensure their safety,” said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “Our legislation sets those standards for staff and security in an establishment such as a nightclub.”

“Safe, fun activities for our teens are extremely important to a parent,” said Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic). “Our children deserve a secure environment to enjoy time with friends. This bill provides protocols that will keep our children safe when out at a teen event.”

The bill (A-1260) would require the licensee to arrange security provided by police officers at a ratio of at least one police officer to 150 attendees, and to grant the officers full access to the premises, including all interior of the buildings. Licensees are also required to prohibit persons: (1) over 18 years of age from attending the events and (2) under 15 years of age from attending the events unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

In addition, this legislation would also require criminal history background checks of all current and prospective employees who will or do work at a teen night and prohibits individuals required to register as sex offenders under Megan’s Law from serving as an employee at a teen night.

The Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee released the measure in an afternoon committee meeting.