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Local Policy Digest

By John Lunde and Matt Crawley | June 8, 2018
Topics: Local

MultiState's Local Policy Digest explores the top legislative developments from municipalities across the U.S.

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Miami, Oklahoma, passes new ordinances for swimming pools just in time for summer. As a prelude to this year's summer vacation, the Miami City Council passed new guidelines for swimming pools in an effort to ensure child safety.

Untouched since 1979, the city's previous swimming pool ordinance was in need of updates that accounted for the “increasing affordability and accessibility of pools” and the subsequent risk of accidental drowning that comes when pools are not properly fenced in. The new city ordinance, which went into effect immediately, mandates that all swimming pools be enclosed behind a fence and that permanent pools require a permit, while temporary pools must be drained at the end of the summer. Additionally, the new ordinance applies these amendments to all pools, new and existing, with a water depth of 24 inches or greater. The previous ordinance only addressed pools with water depths of 18 inches or greater.

Although the ordinance is already in effect, residents can expect an enforcement grace period for the upcoming summer season. Tougher enforcement will be applied starting next year, and violations will treated as a public nuisance.

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Cape Coral, Florida, wants you to hurricane responsibly. In anticipation of the 2018 hurricane season, the Cape Coral City Council took steps to further protect citizens during tropical storms by passing (PDF download) an ordinance banning beer sales during hurricanes.

According to the revised ordinance (PDF download), the beer ban would be added to a list that already includes liquor and wine sales, and would go into effect following the city manager declaring a local state of emergency. It would not prohibit (PDF download) the possession or consumption of alcohol. By banning alcohol sales during storms, city officials aim to keep delivery trucks and drunk drivers off the roads, freeing-up transport space for essential goods and rescue services.

The ordinance comes as part of a series of amendments (PDF download) to the city's fire prevention and emergency management ordinance, which also included adopting updated state fire prevention codes and establishing implementation procedures for local burn bans. The ordinance took effect immediately.

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Lansing, Michigan, is trying to rein in illegal gambling. This week in Lansing, Michigan, council members discussed an ordinance designed to combat illegal gambling within the city. After City Councilman Adam Hussain accidentally uncovered an illegal gambling operation in broad daylight, he and other council members felt compelled to take action.

The ordinance will forbid all forms of games played for money, apart from those regulated by the state such as formal permits and the state lottery. If passed, the new law would classify gambling without a permit as a misdemeanor offense. Businesses that partake in illegal gambling could be subjected to a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Hussain noted that although the state attorney general maintains the authority to investigate gambling crimes, the city must curtail the practice on their own. “We kind of realized that, without an ordinance, our hands are more or less tied,” said Hussain. The proposition was not met without opposition. Councilman Brian Jackson cited his concern that the ordinance would allow the city to seize money or property involved in uncovered illegal gambling operation before suspects had been charged.

The ordinance is scheduled to go before the city council for a full vote on June 11.

MultiState currently tracks more than 3,900 cities, towns, and counties. Additional information about our Local Tracking Service is available here.

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