CURTIS C. WYNNE/NEWS-SUN
EUNICE — Serving alcohol at the golf course, discouraging abortion clinics in town and ensuring safety at the city’s gun range topped new ordinance discussions at the Eunice City Council meeting Monday.
Finalizing the “Eunice Golf Course Alcohol Ordinance,” councilors prohibited golfers from supplying their own coolers or alcohol and established consequences for violators.
Eunice City Attorney Tommy Parker pointed out violation of the city’s rules would be on a sliding scale with the first offense resulting in banning the golfer from the course for the day, the second offense for a month and a third offense for a year.
Appeals may only be made before the city council itself.
Brought back to the council for a second reading, the abortion ordinance was put on hold until the next meeting for a vote.
Parker told the council he doubts any abortion providers will approach the city, but having the ordinance in place would be in the best interest of Eunice.
“I believe we’re in compliance with state law,” Parker said. “We’re in compliance with federal law and we’re going to lean heavily into federal law should anyone decide they want to come into this area. The city can address that if it’s ever brought before us by anyone seeking to place an abortion clinic here in Eunice.”
The proposed ordinance requires a license from the city, along with compliance with federal laws that prohibit shipping or receiving abortion-related paraphernalia through either the U.S. mail or commercial deliveries.
“The (abortion clinic) that was going into Hobbs has already packed up their bags and gone back to Albuquerque. They’re not going to try to put one in there (Hobbs),” Parker said. “I don’t believe we’re going to see any groups, entities, doctors, or medical organizations that would actively want to pursue putting one in Eunice. But the ordinance is in compliance with state and federal law.”
The City of Hobbs and the Lea County Commission already have approved similar ordinances in an effort to discourage abortion practices in this area.
At Mayor Billy Hobbs suggestion, Parker assured the council the city would be represented in court at no cost by an external law firm in the event of lawsuits related to the city’s abortion rules.
The third ordinance under consideration by the councilors at its first reading sets rules for use of the city’s gun range.
Parker explained the lack of regulations exposes the city to liabilities with which the insurance carrier may have problems.
Although a minimum age limit of 21 was considered for gun range membership, several commenters questioned how younger shooters may be allowed to use the facilities and be supervised.
“We can provide a lower age, but 13-17 need an adult supervision,” Parker said. “I think we’ll have to check with (the insurance provider) if we table it tonight. I’ll address that with him.”
Eunice Police Chief Casey Arcidez added, “Or at least have a hunter safety course.”
With regard to applications for membership at the city gun range, Parker suggested the city could be required to perform a background check for insurance purposes.
Alternatively, several councilors suggested only persons who can legally purchase a gun may be allowed membership.
“Something is going to go wrong at some point,” said Councilor Erica Ann Jones, “so we need to have the proper documentation in place to protect us.”
Since the discussion involved the first reading of the proposed ordinance, councilors took no action until it is brought back for conclusion.