DOWNLOADDraft of Graham nightclubs bill (PDF format, 233 KB)

Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham has released a revised draft of his bill regulating minors in nightclubs. The bill is called the Taleshia Ford Memorial Amendment Act of 2007, after the 17-year-old who was killed by a stray bullet at Smarta/Broadway on 9th Street NW in January.

The new draft of the bill, which will be discussed by councilmembers at an April 18 hearing, prohibits kids under 18 from entering alcohol-licensed clubs or establishments with entertainment after 11 p.m. on weekdays. Under the bill, kids can stay at clubs later on weekends and during the summer. They are also permitted at these establishments afterhours if they fit one of a series of exceptions.

Those exceptions include: minors who are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, are paid employees of the establishment, are providing entertainment, are part of a compliance check, are involved in an emergency, or are attending an event where no alcoholic beverages are sold or served.

The bill also creates a new “underage endorsement,” which would be granted by the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and would permit kids under 18 to enter certain establishments.

In addition, the bill makes it a misdemeanor for a minor to obtain alcohol at one of the newly licensed establishments; makes establishment owners, not renters or promoters, responsible for security; and would allow clubs to hire individual police officers to patrol outside their establishments. Currently, club owners cannot choose which officers work as part of the reimbursable security detail they hire to patrol outside their establishments.