At its Nov. 15 meeting, San Marcos City Council discussed the current ordinance on the curfew for minors in the city.
Currently, it is against San Marcos law for minors to be in any public place or area between 10:00 p.m. and sunrise the following day. This has been in effect since 2009, but some citizens and council members are against the ordinance being reimplemented.
Samantha Benavides highlighted some possible effects of the ordinance that can hurt minors.
“The law increases unnecessary interactions between law enforcement and youth,” Benavides said. “It is more likely to criminalize youth than to keep them out of trouble.”
Council Member Maxfield Baker has issues with the ordinance. His concerns include discrimination against people of color and impoverished people.
“When you get wrongfully stopped, that is the best way for situations to become dangerous,” Baker said. “I find [ordinances] like this just archaic.”
Some council members had problems with the lack of data provided. Mayor Jane Hughson discussed how data needs to be provided before making a final decision on the policy.
“Let’s take some time to sit down and figure out what we really want to know for the data,” Hughson said.
Not every council member agrees with denying the ordinance though, as Council Member Mike Gleason is in support of the ordinance continuing, citing issues with education and truancy.
“I think this is a necessary tool that officers need,” Gleason said. “[Taking this away] will only hurt students.”
The ordinance was amended by a vote of 5-1 to change the maximum fine for breaching the law to $50, a change from the original $500. However, the motion to deny the ordinance from the next hearing was denied by a 3-3 vote meaning it will be discussed at the Dec. 6 meeting in the form of a public hearing.
In addition to the discussion of the curfew ordinance, council members were given a presentation about the Five Year Sidewalk Maintenance and Gap Infill Program.
There were improvements made to the plan after it was discussed in May 2022. Some of these changes include providing mailers to landowners at least 90 days prior to the start of a project, developing a protocol for tree inspection, developing the importance of property lines and allowing citizens to petition for sidewalks.
Baker asked about how the streets can be changed after the sidewalks were implemented. It was discussed that the sidewalks can narrow the streets and possibly change the street to just being a one-way due to its tightening.
If the plan is passed, its first project will be to put in a sidewalk at Martin Luther King Jr. Drive from South LBJ Drive to South Guadalupe Street.
The San Marcos City Council meets at 6 p.m. every first and third Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit the City Council website.