The D.C. Council, responding to a series of violent incidents in and near go-go dance halls, passed emergency legislation last night to bar young people from the halls after 11:30 p.m. on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends and holidays.
The measure, which passed by a 11-to-2 vote, will go into effect immediately after it is signed by Mayor Marion Barry. The mayor indicated he will sign the bill, which will remain in effect for 90 days.
Council member Frank Smith Jr. (D-Ward 1), who introduced the bill, said it was necessary to prevent "more carnage" over the Christmas holidays.
By the same vote, the council gave final approval to identical permanent legislation limiting how late persons under age 18 can remain in the go-go clubs and other public dance halls.
Unlike the emergency bill, the permanent legislation will not take effect until late January or February because of the required congressional review period of 30 days.
Last night, Smith cited a string of incidents at the dance halls, including the shooting of three bouncers at 4:50 a.m. Sunday at Cheriy's in Southwest Washington. Last month, a 15-year-old youth was stabbed at 3 a.m. in Celebrity Hall on Georgia Avenue NW as a concert ended. A 17-year-old was fatally stabbed outside the same hall in October.
At hearings in October, the measure was opposed by a string of teen-age witnesses, club operators, and the American Civil Liberties Union as a violation of minors' constitional right of free assembly.
The halls, which usually charge $7 to $10 admissions, often do not begin their performances of funk and rap music until 11 p.m. or midnight and wind up after 3 a.m. The dance halls do not serve alcohol, exempting them from the 3 a.m. closing and other other requirements on establishments that do, but critics charge they have become centers of drug use and sales.
The two council members voting against the bill were Carol Schwartz (R-At Large) and Harry Thomas (D-Ward 5).
In other action last night the council: Paved the way for creation of a new public housing department, as requested by Barry, by tabling a commitee measure to disapprove the plan. Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D -- Ward 4) dropped her opposition,, saying Barry and public housing officials had answered most of her questions about it.
Gave preliminary approval to reducing from 500 feet to 100 feet the distance that protestors must stay away from embassies, but the measure will go into effect only if Congress changes federal law.
Confirmed M. Jerome Woods as the director of the Department of Human Services.