Since time immemorial, Cook County, Illinois, has had very strict personal conduct regulations for its forests. Among other things, it has been illegal to:
- Hang out (only applies to felons)
- Tell fortunes
- Have your fly open
- Do a somersault
- Park illegally (redundant?)
- Perform acrobatic stunts
All those clandestine activities are now legal. Those laws are at least 100 years old, and were mainly intended to prevent traveling circuses and carnivals from setting up shop in the forests surrounding Chicago. No citations for any of these offenses have been issued within living memory.
That’s why Cook County’s forest preserve took the hygienic step of repealing the regulations. If a rule isn’t going to be enforced, or if it is clearly a relic of the horse-and-buggy era, it shouldn’t be on the books. Legislators around the country at all levels of government would do well to follow the example that Cook County’s forest preserve has set. It’s the regulatory version of spring cleaning.