GR to strike ban on being ‘willfully annoying’

generic Grand Rapids skyline

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — It’s soon expected to be OK to be willfully annoying in Grand Rapids.

The City Commission is nixing a 38-year-old section of city code that states “no person shall willfully annoy another person.”

City Attorney Catherine Mish said the wording is “unconstitutionally vague” and “unenforceable,” according to a copy of her recommendation to repeal the language.

“In my opinion, the City Code language stating that no person shall ‘willfully annoy another person’ is subject to a variety of interpretations,” the recommendation reads in part. “The City Code section, as currently written, does not provide a person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know what is prohibited.”

A final decision on cutting the language is expected March 11.

Even with the change, related crimes such as obstructing someone in a public place or assault will still be on the books.

Mish has been scouring city code to find archaic rules, the Grand Rapids Press reports. Last year, rules that got a look included one prohibiting people from riding horses on a sidewalk and another allowing jail time for failing to return a library book.

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