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Philadelphia Lawmakers Move Ahead on More Restrictive Curfew Law

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Prompted by this summer's "flash mob" violence (see related story), a Philadelphia City Council committee today approved changes in the city's curfew law that make it more restrictive.

The vote came despite objections from the ACLU, which called the bill unconstitutional.

The Committee on Public Safety signed off on Mayor Nutter's plan to make the curfew hours earlier.  Representatives of town watch groups and antiviolence groups testified in support of the measure, but the local ACLU was opposed.

ACLU staff attorney Mary-Catherine Roper says the press has overstated the extent of this past summer's problems.

"Those incidents were called flash mobs even when they involved only a handful of teens, and were hyped unbelievably by the media," she testified.

Councilman Bill Greenlee begged to differ.

"I don't know if you want to tell the guy that got stomped at 15th and Sansom [another related story] that it's not that big a deal," he told Roper.

The committee approved Nutter's plan but added a sunset provision that ends the more restrictive hours after two years.

If approved by the full Council, the curfew for 16 and 17 year olds would begin at 10pm, for 14 and 15 year olds at 9pm, and for children 13 and under at 8pm.  Weekend hours would be the same as weeknights, and summer hours would be slightly later.  Parents of violators could face fines up to $500.

Reported by KYW City Hall bureau chief Mike Dunn

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