International Municipal Lawyers Association - Local Government Blog

From the Vaults – No.1

November 5, 2008
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From time to time on this blog, we’ll post up a couple of lighter fare materials for your enjoyment. As many of you know, IMLA operates a Model Ordinance Service which provides guidance for our members when drafting new ordinances. We’ve received many comments and questions from our members on the lack of updates in recent months, and we ask you to be patient just a little longer. A new and improved members-only Model Ordinance Service is coming very, very soon.

j04331911With that said, we thought we’d go back in time and show you a model ordinance, which clearly wouldn’t pass First Amendment scrutiny today. This is NIMLO’s (IMLA’s old name) Model Comic Book Ordinance. The preamble to this outdated ordinance starts by stating that the “City Council of _____ finds and determines that there is a great increase in the number and variety of illustrated “comic” books, magazines and other publications…[that] deal in substantial part with subject matter of an obscene nature tending to deprave the morals of those into whose hands the publication might fall by suggesting lewd thoughts and exciting sensual desires.” In terms of the actual prohibition, the model went on to make unlawful any comic book which “is concerned with an account of crime” such as “administering posionous and injurious potions”, theft, false imprisonment, assault in attempting burglary, and more. And to top it off, the law made sure to include any “conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing offenses.”

Click our superhero above (err…i mean criminal) to get a PDF of the whole model ordinance.

P.S. Tune in tomorrow for a great blog on employment law.

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This blog is made possible by the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA), but may include guest bloggers (who are attorneys with experience in local government matters) who might or might not work for IMLA. Their views (and those expressed on this site) do not necessarily express the views of IMLA.