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G.R. repeals spitting, fortune telling bans

Grand Rapids City Commissioners today will consider repealing several out-dated ordinances
Credit: By Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press
Downtown Grand Rapids skyline

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- City commissioners Tuesday tackled what might have been their lightest meeting agenda in some time. it was short on substance, long on laughs. Appropriate, noted Commissioner Ruth Kelly, given that the LaughFest festival is underway in the city.

The commission is doing some spring cleaning of ordinances, getting rid of old and outdated laws that City Attorney Catherine Mish is sweeping out of the statutes.

Mish said "perhaps the most silly" law that existed was one that made spitting in public a misdemeanor criminal offense. She consulted the Kent County Health Department, which confirmed it was "not something they would be concerned about."

Other action Tuesday including decriminalizing fortune telling. Commissioner Elias Lumpkins joked, "Let's tax it!"

Commissioners also made it legal for a homeowner to remove a birds nest from their property. Previously, only city police had that legal power.

Tuesday night, commissioners will finalize changes made to other old laws, including getting rid of one that made "willfully annoying" someone a misdemeanor offense.

Mayor George Heartwell Tuesday said, "Now we can be willfully annoying, and we can spit, while carrying birds nests out of the garage."