Some portions of the city code for Midland, Texas, are as current as the Mayan calendar. Yesterday we addressed a change in the works for an ancient provision regarding parade permits. See New Parade Permit Rule - Minorities Hit Hardest.
But that was not the only outdated code provision. My favorite old timey law is Section 6-1-9 in the aforementioned code. As follows:
6-1-9. - Police radio; interception of communications.
No solicitor, or other person, not being authorized by the City, shall intercept any communication and divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purpose, effect or meaning of such intercepted communication, and no solicitor or other person, not being entitled thereto, shall receive or assist in receiving any message emanating through the medium of KKA-662, and use the same or any information therein contained for his own benefit, or for the benefit of another solicitor or person.
(Ord. of 3-24-1953)
So it's illegal to divulge anything overheard on a scanner tuned into the police and fire radio channels. Tell that to the TV news people who make extensive use of it during ongoing news events.
Free the NewsWest Nine! See previously, Free the CBS Seven!
My second favorite ancient code is 6-1-12. - Arsonists, to wit:
There is hereby appropriated from the general fund of the City the sum of $250.00 to be paid to any person procuring the arrest and conviction of any person found guilty of arson, or any attempt to commit arson, within the corporate limits of the City. If and when such fund is exhausted, then additional funds of like amount shall be appropriated so as to keep the fund a continuous one.
(Ord. of 2-16-1928; Ord. of 2-14-1950)
Back in 1928 that $250 reward would have been a princely sum. Today not so much.
I complain about it, but in reality I like it that these ridiculous old rules stay on the books. Overall it's a bad thing for society to have so many ancient rules and no one in government caring enough to update them or get rid of them all together. But for bloggers they are manna from heaven. Our local government is so kind as to hand out the bludgeons and ask to be beaten about the head with them.
That code provision about the radio scanners will have its 60th birthday in a couple of months. I hope I can remember to help celebrate.