BREAKING NEWS: Missoula City Council Bans Baby Strollers Downtown!
In a stunning vote of 7-3, Missoula’s City Council amended Missoula Municipal Code Title 9, entitled “Public Peace, Morals and Welfare,” Chapter 9.34 entitled “Pedestrian Interference”. The amendment included the following definition of “sit”:
H. “Sit” means to be in a position in which your bottom is resting on a chair, the ground, etc. with your back upright.
The Council then applied the new definition of “sitting” to the following activities:
A. It is unlawful for any person to sit, lie or sleep on a sidewalk within twenty (20) feet of an entrance to a building, or to sit, lie or sleep upon any street or alley, within the city limits.
B. It is unlawful for any person to sit, lie or sleep on a public sidewalk, or upon a blanket, chair, stool, or any other object placed upon a public sidewalk during the hours between 6:00 am and 11:00 pm in the Downtown Business Improvement District of Missoula;
While the Council did make exceptions for certain things like medical emergencies and when they “authorize” protesters to exercise first amendment rights (how nice of them!), and permitting restaurants that want to expand their occupancy numbers by allowing sidewalk seating, it appears that the baby stroller lobby didn’t have enough clout to grant them an exemption to the new ordinance.
But fear not, babes sitting with their “bottoms” resting on a chair with wheels (or will strollers be grandfathered in under a disability provision to use a “wheelchair”?), you are in good company with Missoula’s finest of homeless citizens. You have been added to the list of obstructionists getting in the way of “upstanding” citizens utilizing their lawful right to walk the sidewalks of Missoula unimpeded by strollers.
Cyclists, be aware that your sitting on the seat of your bicycle while on a sidewalk may be interpreted as a violation of this ordinance, too. Let’s see how the local police determine to proceed with that apparent violation.
It will be interesting to see if Missoula’s men in blue understand all citizens’ rights to Equal Protection under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment by fairly implementing the law. If we can get enough baby strollers ticketed, maybe the City can escape the inevitable charges of selective enforcement, and violating homeless peoples’ civil rights to occupy public space. Or for violating homeless peoples’ rights under the 8th Amendment to sleeping on the streets and sidewalks of Missoula.
Welcome to the expansion of the nanny state in Missoula. Outraged? Here’s a good place to start…