BUTTE, Mont. - Butte City Council members heard directly from residents Wednesday night on a proposed open container ordinance that would make it illegal to carry a drink on the streets of the Mining City during early morning hours.
The Butte residents who spoke at the Council Commissioners meeting were divided about the proposed open container law. Proponents said it would cut back on crime in Uptown Butte, while others say it will be a slippery slope to 24-hour open container laws.
Several residents, Chief Executive Matt Vincent, and Sheriff Ed Lester all spoke in favor of the proposed ordinance, which would make public drinking from 2 to 8 in the morning illegal.
Other residents and one councilman spoke against the law, expressing concerns about possible jail time, law enforcement's already stretched resources, and how this law would eventually lead to restrictions on open containers all day long.
Those in favor of the ordinance say it would cut down on crimes like vandalism or disorderly conduct, especially in the Uptown area.
We spoke to Michael Duffy, who lives in the Metals Bank building, right in the action of late night public drinking.
"I think that since they can't sell the liquor after two it wont harm their business," said Duffy, about bar owners. "And after a while, it will become habit people will say, 'Well the parties over, let's take it elsewhere, just not the streets of Uptown Butte.'"
We're told this ordinance is still in the works, and there will be at least two more public meetings before anything is decided.
To take a survey about the proposed open container ordinance and express your opinion, click here.