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Lansing council passes emergency measure after ordinances accidentally lapse

Lansing City Hall
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

An apparent administrative oversight means a still-unknown number of city laws in Lansing were wiped off the books - at least temporarily.

The city's regulatory ordinances that went into effect before 2007 were supposed to be re-enacted by last November. 

But that did not happen, and now the City Council is scrambling to fix the problem.

Under Lansing's city charter, the council must vote to re-enact its regulatory ordinances every ten years, or adopt a resolution to let them expire.

According to Council President Carol Wood, the council last did this in 2007. But it failed to do it again in November 2017.

Under the charter, the city clerk must notify council six months before ordinances are scheduled to expire. But Wood said council was not notified.

"For whatever reason, that was not caught by the city clerk or the city attorney until a week ago," Wood said.

The council has passed an emergency measure to fix the situation temporarily and retroactively. But Wood said there are legal uncertainties.

"Are we going to have challenges out there?" said Wood. "Are there fees or fines that have been collected that we might have to pay back?"

The council now has 60 days to make the re-codifications permanent. This will happen through the regular legislative process which includes public hearings, according to Wood.

Wood said the city attorney is looking into which ordinances were affected.

Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope and Lansing City Attorney Jim Smiertka did not return requests for comment on the matter.

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