December 15, 2018

Commissioners repeal six unconstitutional ordinances

Posted

MIO — The Oscoda County Board of Commissioners has voted to repeal the six ordinances that the county prosecutor recommended be done away with.

The Nov. 27 vote was unanimous; however, Commissioner Larry Wilson abstained from voting on the issue. He cited a conflict of interest stemming from information from a closed session during the Nov. 13 meeting.

The ordinances were brought to the attention of the board at the Nov. 13 board meeting by Prosecutor Cassie Morse-Bills. She’d spent time going through the county’s various ordinances looking for ones that needed to be restructured or repealed and for those that could stand. She said a majority of the ordinances need to be repealed, not simply restructured.

All of the ordinances Morse-Bills brought to the board, except one, were decades old, some dating back to the early 1960s and ’70s. She said she has not been enforcing them since she took office. In a previous interview, Morse-Bills said the six ordinances had all become unconstitutional over the years due to various new laws being enacted.

“It’s not a matter of opinion, it’s a matter of law,” Morse-Bills said in an interview after the meeting. “All of the ones I’ve brought up have been declared unconstitutional.”

The six ordinances that were repealed varied in content. Adopted in 1961 was an ordinance to regulate huckstering, hawking, peddling, soliciting and canvassing.

In 1971 two ordinances were adopted, one a general disturbing the peace ordinance, the other attempting to put a stop to exhibition driving. Exhibition driving is when a person uses their vehicle to make unnecessary and obtrusive noise or drives in a way to simulate illegal street racing.

Adopted in 1976 was an ordinance to prohibit the unlawful entering or remaining on the premises or property of any public, private or parochial school located within the county.

Adopted in 1977 was an ordinance to regulate the sale, distribution and display of obscene, sadistic or masochistic literature, recordings or images.

Finally, adopted in 2012 was a synthetic and dangerous products emergency ordinance.

The county has not yet made any official changes to the animal control ordinance that Morse-Bills also recommended be reworked.

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