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Proposed Drug Ordinance Draws Concern Over Civil Rights in Huntington

Huntington, Ohio River
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A proposed ordinance that targets property owners for repeated illegal incidents on their premises and evicts tenants has drawn opposition from West Virginia's American Civil Liberties Union chapter.

The ACLU's West Virginia Policy Director, Eli Baumwell, told The Herald-Dispatch in a statement Monday that the Huntington City Council ordinance could have unintended consequences and treats addiction as a blight that can be ignored if it remains unseen. Council Vice Chairman Alex Vence says the ordinance is aimed at drug dealers more than drug users.

The ordinance, which had its first council reading Monday, would see the declaration of properties where two or more illegal incidents occur within a year as public nuisances, resulting in the eviction of tenants involved in the illegal activities and possible fines for the property owners.

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