Human Rights Commission proposes change to age restrictions


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

The 21-ordinance is not just an issue with local students — for some city officials, it may be a human-rights issue as well.

The Iowa City Human Rights Commission proposed an ordinance that will exempt age restrictions based on health, safety, or developmental differences from the Human Rights Ordinance.

The Human Rights Ordinance establishes public accommodation, which means establishments or facilities must offer services to all of the general public.

Because the 21-ordinance prevents people under the age of 21 from being in a bar after 10 p.m., the ordinance is in violation of the current Human Rights Ordinance.

“For the 21-ordinance, no one changed or dealt with the Human Rights code,” said Sue Dulek, assistant an city attorney. “Reflecting the fact, it’s OK to limit age when dealing with alcohol.”

The first consideration for the proposed ordinance will be voted on at the Oct. 1 City Council meeting.

City Councilor Rick Dobyns declined to comment.

The ordinance also prohibits a public accommodation from denying a person the full or equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, or advantages of any place of public accommodation based on a person’s age.

The current ordinance provides for equal treatment of people, in regards to safety, health, or developmental differences between age groups.

“There are a number of problematic scenarios that result due to this, for example, a public accommodation, with a policy that requires all persons less than 8 years of age to be accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older while using certain equipment would be in violation of the Human Rights Ordinance even though it is related to a legitimate safety concern,” according to a letter from Stefanie Bowers, the Iowa City Human Rights coordinator, to City Manager Tom Markus.

The 21-ordinance will be up for a vote once again on Nov. 5. The ordinance has received backlash but has also seen support within the community.

Although the 21-ordinance is in violation to the Human Rights Ordinance, some officials believe that it is necessary to a person’s safety to implement certain age restrictions.

“A bar can say, ‘No, you’re 17-years-old, you can’t come in,’ but it is a legitimate reason to modify age decision,” Dulek said.

In today's issue:

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.