Parents and business owners in Annapolis could spend time in jail ifthey let minors violate a curfew proposed by Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins.
The City Council's rules committee will hold a public hearing onthe proposed curfew tonight.
A downtown resident, Carol Gerson, has been distributing fliers opposing the curfew and urging residents to attend the hearing. Her daughter, Timi, an Annapolis High School student, has been giving the fliers to fellow students.
"I don't think the kids are a problem anyway," Gerson said. "It's more the 20-year-olds who are too young to get into bars. Why doesn't the city do something positive? There's nothing in this city for kids. Why don't they build a skateboard park or hold dances on Friday nights?"
Hopkins proposed the legislation to fight downtown rowdiness and violence in drug-infested neighborhoods. Downtown tavern owners had asked Hopkins to propose the bill.
The bill would require anyone under age 17 to leave public places andestablishments between midnight and 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on other nights.
Minors discovered outafter curfew would have a letter sent to their parents or guardians by police.
Also, children between the ages of six and 15 could nothang out in public places between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on school days unless they are accompanied by a parent or have written permission from school officials.
Parents who let their children break curfewor loiter during school hours more than once in a 12-month period could be fined $5 to $100. They could be jailed for 10 days if they failed to pay.
nors remain in their establishments after curfew or during school hours could be fined $25 to $300 and could be jailed for 15 days if they failed to pay the fine.
The Maryland Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union also has been looking into the bill.Executive Director Stuart Comstock-Gay said the ACLU opposes curfewsin general.
"Imposing a curfew on youths is going to put a minor dent in the drug problem at best," Comstock-Gay said. "Kids who are going to sell are going to sell anyway. If you're just saying that kids don't belong out at night, that's not the business of the state or the city. The drug war has been chipping away at civil liberties the last five to 10 years. We've lost a considerable amount of ground."
In other action tonight, the rules committee has scheduled a publichearing on a plan by Hopkins to test public transportation drivers, mechanics and supervisors for drug use.
People applying for city jobs also would be required to take drug tests, and any city employee suspected of drug use could be tested. Hopkins also hopes aldermen volunteer for the tests. The city would pay for the tests unless an employee wanted a private lab to perform the test.
Police officers and firefighters already are required to take drug tests.
Under the legislation, employees testing positive would be sent to counseling or a rehabilitation program, the cost of which would be partly coveredby city health benefits.
Employees testing positive a second time would be fired. Employees also could be fired if their performance was affected more than once by drug or alcohol abuse.
The employees' union, AFSCME local 3406, had supported the plan. But after a recent dispute over health benefits, the union withdrew its support for testing.
The city's insurance program, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, recentlyrefused to pay for inpatient drug rehabilitation for two employees recommended for treatment by the city's employee assistance program.
The union, Blue Cross and city officials met last week, and all said they were confident they could iron out differences before the CityCouncil votes on the plan next month.
"Without that treatment, wewould have only the retaliation part of the plan, not the rehabilitation part of the plan," said city Drug Policy Coordinator Eric Avery.
Tonight's meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers in City Hall on Duke of Gloucester Street.