Alaska Town Looks to Ban Drunk Walking

...and public defecation
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2013 8:56 AM CDT
Alaska Town Looks to Ban Drunk Walking
Bethel, Alaska, is considering adding fines for public urination, drunkenness.   (tschmidt90)

Defecating and urinating in public are already against the law in Alaska, but one small town 400 miles west of Anchorage is considering a ban of its own—and the proposed ordinance doesn't stop there. The move to beef up Bethel's public decency laws would also bar residents in the town of 6,100 from walking on city streets while drunk, reports KYUK. Doing so would allow the fines for such behavior (up to $200 in the case of public defecation) to enter the town's coffers, instead of the state's, reports the AP.

But the proposed ban might not be a cash cow: "There is, even among inebriated people, a desire to be modest about things like [defecating in public]," says one council member, who professed to never having seen such an act occur. (Though another admitted to understanding the need to do it "out in the tundra or in private somewhere behind some bushes, but no, not out in the city itself.") And while some council members argue that the public intoxication ban would keep the community safe, not everyone is convinced. Says a third council member, "I understand people can be a menace, but there’s other ways to handle it than outlawing drunk walking." A public hearing on the amendment, which would also touch on things like littering and selling cigarettes to minors, is scheduled for Tuesday. (More Alaska stories.)

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