Lansing City Council couldn’t do 7 “obsolete”, “superfluous” regulations

LANSING – The city council has drafted plans that would prevent seven low-level criminal ordinances.

Councilor Brian Jackson, who introduced the proposal, said the rollback was meant to reduce over-policing and excessive criminalization. The targeted ordinances provide for criminal penalties.

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Changes to repeal the following ordinances are scheduled for a public hearing on April 12th:

  • No loitering in places where prostitution or indictment of indecent behavior is taking place
  • Prohibition to play on the street
  • Ban on bicycles in Riverfront Park during an organized event; (Adado Riverfront Park was formerly known as Riverfront Park)
  • Prohibited begging in a public place or going door to door to solicit donations for personal benefit
  • Prohibition of the use of profane language in a building or on a property next to a building in the city that is used as a public, private or church school
  • Prohibition of borrowing money from a student in a school
  • Carrying firearms, air rifles, bows and arrows, slingshots, crossbows or other dangerous weapons in public places is prohibited, subject to exceptions

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Jackson: Regulations are superfluous “abroad”

Many of the ordinances, including bans on bicycles during organized events at Riverfront Park, are out of date and have not recently been prosecuted, Jackson said. Others are redundant – like the one that bans carrying a gun in a public place with exceptions, Jackson said. He noted that the rules for carrying guns are governed by Michigan law and that state laws supersede local ordinances.

Some of the rules are “overseas” and potentially unconstitutional, said Jackson, a former prosecutor who now works for the Ingham County’s public defense office.

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The amendments for a hearing “dropped out of committee without much opposition” after discussion with Lansing’s chief police officer and city attorney, Jackson said.

Some suggestions didn’t make it out of the committee

Jackson originally proposed cleaning up 14 offense ordinances, but the Justice, Diversity and Inclusion Council put the rest to the table. Jackson sits on that committee with Council members Patricia Spitzley and Kathie Dunbar.

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The following regulations did not make the list of repeal changes approved by the committee. Therefore, they were not promoted to a full council hearing:

  • Prohibition of possession of drug paraphernalia
  • No loitering while controlled substances or drug paraphernalia are being sold or used
  • Prohibition of people being in city parks when the parks are closed from morning to night, unless there is a city-sponsored or approved activity in a lighted park
  • Prohibition of disorderly, fighting, loud and exuberant behavior and violation of peace
  • Prohibition of disturbing a lawful gathering
  • Prohibition of climbing, peeling, cutting, defacing, removing, injuring or destroying trees in city streets, highways, parks or lawns
  • Prohibition to bring animals, vehicles or bicycles onto a park or lawn or to deface the terrain or vegetation

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Contact reporter Sarah Lehr at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @SarahGLehr.

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