Public Intoxication Ordinance

The La Crosse Common Council's approved a public intoxication ordinance in an effort to address binge drinking in the community where eight intoxicated men have drowned since 1997.

Mayor Mark Johnsrud calls the 15-to-1 vote a turning point in the history of La Crosse. He says that the months-long debate on the ordinance alone had improved public awareness of the dangers of binge drinking.

The law becomes effective March 25th.

La Crosse police will cite people if they are intoxicated in public, present a public nuisance or are a danger to themselves or others. Citations can't be given in bars, but can be issued on streets, in city-owned buildings and on other public land.

Drunken people will be considered a public nuisance or threat if they vomit, are loud, fall down, urinate in public or exhibit other unruly behavior.

First time offenders will receive a warning and have to complete an alcohol education program sponsored by the police department. Those who don't complete the program will be fined $150. Subsequent tickets will carry fines of at least $400.