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New law could eliminate public urination in city

Drunk college students in the city of Pittsburgh, take note: Before this week, it hasn’t been against the law to urinate in public.

The city council tentatively approved a proposed ordinance last week that would stop people from urinating or defecating in public places or on private property without permission. This ordinance grew out of both Pittsburgh council members’ and citizens’ distaste with people using the bar-filled South Side neighborhoods as public restrooms.

With no law in place, police have been forced to resort to state laws to cite offenders, which in some cases would result in a state charge of lewdness, placing citizens on the list of registered sex offenders.

Council members will meet Tuesday where a final vote on the pending legislation could make the new law permanent. If the legislature goes through, the penalty for each violation will be $500.

We at The Tartan are surprised that a law against public urination and defecation did not already exist. It’s rather amusing to think that prior to this week, residents were technically allowed to urinate wherever they so desired.

That being said, we are all for making the city cleaner and more livable for the city’s residents, and eliminating public streets and buildings as bathrooms is definitely a step in the right direction.

We all know how badly Porta-Johns smell, and it would be great if the city was kept from smelling like that as well, especially with our already polluted rivers. The law seems to be the ideal way to keep the city stench free, and also would fill in a legal gap that seems to just be a manifestation of one of the rules we all learned in kindergarten.

We are glad that the city council is trying to keep public places clean, and we applaud Carnegie Mellon students and staff for making use of the restroom facilities on campus instead of taking the liberty of relieving themselves on the Cut or by the Fence.