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Why Florida town moves to ban beach drinking in March

In Panama City Beach, Fla., leaders have voted to ban drinking on the the beach during Spring Break. 

Panama City Beach leaders have voted to ban beach drinking during the month of March as part of larger crackdown on spring break partying.

The city council approved the ban on beach drinking Tuesday during a special meeting to address spring break issues.

The News Herald reports that the city and the county are considering additional measures to curtail spring break rowdiness after seven partygoers were shot and injured at a spring break party this year.

Here's what Sheriff Frank McKeithen told The News Herald after the shooting in March:

"It has been very frustrating because you listen to people stand up and say that Spring Break isn't really that bad and we've been trying to tell them it is," McKeithen said. "It was only a matter of time and it's only a matter of time until it happens again if we don't address it."

 "This is what we've been trying to warn people about. It's been a rough time and there are two completely different elements of Spring Break. There are the college kids who are here for their Spring Break, and there is the group of people drawn here because of them."

Local officials say they want to clean up the city's image after negative publicity from the shootings and an alleged sexual assault that happened during other spring break festivities on the beach behind a popular nightclub.

The News Herald reports:

The proposals are in addition to 17 measures approved last year to tone down the celebration after unflattering national publicity about Spring Break crime and unsavory behavior.

This year, seven people were shot and wounded at a house party and a sexual assault allegedly occurred on the beach in broad daylight.

The council approved moving ahead with the drinking ban Tuesday after listening to representatives from the hospitality industry try to convince them to adopt more restrictions on drinking on the beach without an outright ban.

For the drinking proposal to become law, an ordinance will have to be brought back for two council votes

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Information from: The (Panama City, Fla.) News Herald, http://www.newsherald.com

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