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City to decriminalize alcohol in city parks
The Renton City Council on Monday had a first reading of a new ordinance to decriminalize alcohol, in city parks, but don't go popping that brewskie just yet.
"It's still against the law," said city attorney Zanetta Fontes, calling the ordinance a "housekeeping measure."
During Monday's Community Services Committee meeting, Fontes explained the ordinance is not a license to drink in public, but rather a simple change, making having an open container in a park a civil, rather than criminal infraction.
That means it is still illegal and you can still get a ticket for it, but you won't be arrested.
The change comes in response to a state law that made the same change in open spaces, which Fontes said include city parks. She said the city had to change their code because a city cannot make a criminal infraction out of something the state considers a civil matter.
The decriminalization, however, does not mean that drinking in parks will be allowed anytime soon, as having an open container continues to be against park rules.
The present fine for all parks infractions is $101.