Are you looking for local ordinances for your town, city, or county? Local ordinances used to be very difficult to find, but as more and more local governments are putting their laws online, access has become much easier. City and county laws apply to many aspects of our daily lives. Many local laws deal with maintaining public safety, health, and general welfare. Ordinances are generally organized into local codes, such as traffic code, business regulation and taxation code, general offenses code, and building code. This can make your search for a particular law much easier.
Perhaps you are consistently being disturbed by a noisy neighbor. Most municipalities have noise ordinances that control the times, types and loudness of noise. It would be a good idea to review your local noise laws and find out if they are in violation. You’ll feel a lot better once you find that there are laws supporting you in your quest for peace and quiet. For example, it is illegal for owners or operators of vehicles with booming stereos to play music loud enough to be heard at a distance of 50 feet in the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota. If you violate this ordinance, or any of the city’s noise ordinances, you could be slapped with a fine of up to $1,000, or even face jail time. This noise ordinance, along with the full code of ordinances for the City of Saint Paul is available online.
Another type of local law that can often be found online is zoning code. Many cities and counties, such as Luce County, Michigan have enacted zoning ordinances to control and direct the use and development of private property. Before starting a home-based business or adding an addition to your house, you should first research the zoning laws in your community. You need to make sure that your home business, addition, or remodeling project is in compliance. It’s best to find out this information before you start, saving you a lot of hassle and frustration down the road.
In addition to local ordinances, laws are also regulated at the state level, such as driving laws, criminal laws and tax laws. State laws, such as child passenger safety laws, can vary from state to state. For example, Tennessee was the first state in the nation to require the use of safety seats for child passengers, and currently has one of the toughest laws in the country regarding this issue. Tennessee state law requires your child ride in a booster seat in until his ninth birthday and punishes violators with a $50 fine. The court can also require you to attend an education class that focuses on the proper use and importance of child passenger safety systems. More information on Tennessee’s child passenger restraint laws, along with the full state code, can be accessed online here.
Providing access to laws and codes online benefits both citizens and government employees. Citizens can review these laws themselves, while government employees no longer have to respond to as many requests for copies of these laws. If you are in search for information about a particular law, The Free Public Records Directory – Laws and Codes is a great place for finding links to city, county and state codes. Laws and ordinances are often searchable by keyword or topic. Additionally, you can also find links to track congressional bills through the Library of Congress, search legislative bills and recent floor activity through the U.S. Senate, view Senate appropriations bills, or search the U.S. Code.