HAUPPAUGE - The Suffolk Legislature has passed a bill to strengthen the county's social host law, making it a misdemeanor for an adult to serve or allow alcohol to be served to minors on their property.

The law was designed to discourage adults from hosting underage drinking parties.

The penalty under the original law was a violation.

In prepared remarks, Dr. Jeff Reynolds, president and CEO of Family and Children's Services, said, "Alcohol remains the deadliest drug on the planet and underage drinking has contributed to the mess we're in today. This common-sense bill strengthens Suffolk's social host law, proactively protects public health and ultimately, will save lives."

Suffolk Legislator Tom Cilmi pushed for harsher penalties because he said the previous law was too weak.

"A violation requires a police officer witnessing the offense taking place, which made it difficult for the police department to enforce the social host law," says Cilmi.

The strengthened law is punishable by a fine of up to $500 for the first offense, and a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in jail for following offenses.

The increased penalty comes in time for graduation parties across the county.