D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham plans to introduce new legislation next Tuesday that would enhance regulations for nightclubs wishing to admit patrons under the age of 21.

“It’s very straightforward,” he says. “Those bars that wish to have entertainment where there are underage persons will have to have a security plan to make sure [the club is] a safe environment. If you want to do entertainment for people who are underage, you have to seek a special underage entertainment permission.”

Graham says he will present the bill to the D.C. Council on Feb. 6 as permanent, not emergency, legislation, meaning there will be opportunity for a full round of hearings. “There’s no emergency legislation,” he says. “I want to get the maximum amount of comment.”

Last week, the Committee on Public Works and the Environment held a public roundtable on the issue of minors at nightclubs and taverns. The discussion followed the tragic death of Taleshia Ford, 17, by a stray bullet at the 9th Street NW nightclub Smarta/Broadway on Jan. 20. Early last week, Graham said he would consider emergency legislation on the subject of clubs catering to underage individuals, but has since backed away from the position. “People are saying, ‘Reconsider the ban.’ What ban? I haven’t introduced a ban. I want to give people something to comment on.”

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