The Montgomery County Council voted 6-3 to table a proposed curfew law that would have allowed police to arrest anyone younger than 18 for being in public after 11PM. This vote to table the proposal effectively kills it, though it leaves open the possibility that the Council could consider it once again in the future.
The Montgomery County Council debated the curfew bill for months. In the early stages, it looked like this anti-youth measure would pass. Similar laws have passed in nearby districts, and several members of the Council expressed support.
But over the months, youth rights activists spoke up. In July, NYRA Executive Director Alex Koroknay-Palicz and other activists addressed the Council at a public hearing. In late November, as this proposal went into the final stretch, NYRA-members emailed those on the Council.
After hearing the arguments, the Council came to understand that age-based curfews are a bad idea, and that the public is far from unanimous in supporting them.
Council President Roger Berliner, explaining his support for tabling the bill, said a proposal of this nature should only be implemented when there is a consensus in the community. During today’s meeting, he said it was now clear no such consensus exists.
Councilman George Leventhal, explaining his own vote to table the bill, reminded his peers that their job was to serve the community and, “Young people are part of our community.”
A more moderate proposal, that would have empowered police to arrest people of any age for loitering was also tabled by a vote of 5-4.