House Considers Repealing Outdated Crimes

There are current laws against walkathons and bad language

Yesterday the House Committee on Criminal Justice heard testimony on a package of bills that would amend or repeal several archaic laws. Among the laws under consideration are criminal prohibitions on participating in walkathons, playing “The Star‑Spangled Banner” as part of a medley, using “reproachful” language and selling dyed baby chicks and rabbits. The hearing was covered by the Detroit Free Press and MLive.com.

A study published by the Mackinac Center and Manhattan Institute found that Michigan has more than 3,100 criminal prohibitions in statute. The study identified numerous criminal laws that could be either repealed or amended to reduce the penalties.

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The efforts to prune unnecessary crimes from the books are led by a work group led by Rep. Chris Afendoulis, R‑Grand Rapids Township, and Rep. Kurt Heise, R‑Plymouth.

This is a worthwhile process; a review by the Michigan Legislature will identify dozens of laws that no longer serve a useful purpose in protecting people or property. Additionally, the Legislature should enact a bill that would clarify whether criminal defendants should have known they were committing a crime.