Mercer Island underage drinking ordinance goes into effect Jan. 13

Mercer Island's new ordinance on underage drinking officially takes effect on Friday, Jan. 13.

The new rule, which hopes to combat underage drinking, will prohibit underage gatherings of parties of four or more people drinking alcohol. If count, the person who controls the property will be in violation of the ordinance and can be ticketed for $250. The ordinance defines people under the age of 19 as underage.

Last fall and winter, during the Mercer Island City Council's discussions on the topic it was noted that the ordinance in other areas has been found to help create a safer environment for youth.

The ordinance does not change or override other laws, such as those concerning giving alcohol to minors or minors in possession. It does not apply to landlords unless they are the host of the gathering.

The Mercer Island Community That Care, which encouraged the ordinance, said that a large majority of Island parents already practice 'safe hosting' without allowing underage drinking, but showed also that seniors at MIHS consume alcohol at rates above the state average.

The Island is the first city in the state with such an ordinance, which is supported by Washington State Liquor Control Board.

To learn more contact Derek Franklin, the MICTC project director at or Katie Knight, the city attorney at


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