City council approves ordinance amendments

Donelle Pardee Whiting

Three ordinances previously on the books in Washington were amended at the city council meeting Feb. 18.

The original ordinances for curfew, truancy and smoking and tobacco use by minors allowed for the same fines regardless of the number of violations.

However, the amended ordinances allow the city to establish minimum fines, increasing the maximum fines to the amount now permitted by state law and the establishment of a graduated fine scale for violations.

Ward III alderman Dave Dingledine objected to the ordinance dealing with curfew.

He could not support the change in the city ordinance because he did not agree with the new curfew regarding teen driving.

Dingledine said he believed the state was treating teens unfairly, and the curfew change does not make sense.

Under the new driving laws that took effect Jan. 1, 16- and 17-year- olds are not allowed to drive after 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

However, the regular curfew states that teens may be out until 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight Friday and Saturday as long as they are not driving.

Teens who are out late because of work or a school sanctioned activity are exempt from curfew.

Despite three no votes, the amended curfew ordinance was approved.

In addition to Dingledine, Ward IV aldermen Jim Gee and Amanda Shipp also voted against the new curfew ordinance.

Teens found in violation of curfew will be fined $50 for the first offense, $75 for a second offense, $100 for a third, etc., not to exceed $750.

A person 10 and older found in violation of the truancy ordinance will be fined $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second and $100 for the third or subsequent offense.

If the student is under the age of 10, the parent of guardian will be subject to the fine.

A truant is a child subject to compulsory school attendance who is absent without valid cause. Illness, religious holiday, death in the immediate family or a family emergency are allowed excuses

Violation of the ordinance governing use of tobacco by a minor is $50 for the first offense, $75 for the second offense, $100 for a third offense, etc., not to exceed $750 for subsequent offenses.

In addition to amending the smoking ordinance in regard to minors, there is a proposed addition that would make public areas in Washington smoke-free.

City administrator Bob Morris said the smoke-free addition would mirror the state ordinance, but would allow the officer the option of writing an administrative ticket or giving violators a notice to appear.

An administrative ticket allows violators to simply pay a fine as opposed to going to court in Pekin, Morris said, adding it would be similar to a traffic ticket.

The smoke free ordinance makes it illegal to smoke in any public area, business and place of employment or within 15 feet of a door or window.

First-time offenders would be fined $100 during any 12 month period, $150 for a second offense within one year after the first offense and $250 for each additional violation within a year.

Anyone owning, operating or controlling a public place or place of employment that violates the ordinance also faces a fine of $250 for the first violation, $500 for the second violation within a year of the first offense and $2,500 for each additional violation within a year.

The council did not vote on the Smoke Free Washington ordinance because, Morris said, city officials are making sure the wording is precise and within state mandate.