Violation of Ordinances
Municipal codes include a number of provisions that criminalize or regulate otherwise benign or peaceful activity, often in the name of public health or safety. Examples range from weed control to requirements for businesses to close on Sunday. For this reason, it is very important what type of penalty might come with such regulations.
While most city codes prescribe specific penalties for prohibited activities, many laws don't explicitly state a penalty. For these laws, the city's default penalty would be imposed. In order to measure the impact of city regulations on individual liberty, we measured the default penalty level prescribed by city code along with its corresponding fine. We also measured the default fine level for the lowest penalty level, a class C misdemeanor.
The first measure, default severity, used a three-point scale with a score of one denoting class B as the default, a two denoting class C as the default, and a three when an infraction was the default. This measure counted for 70% of the total metric score. The second and third measures looked at the fine for the default penalty (20% weight) and the fine for a class C misdemeanor (10% weight) respectively. These three measures—default severity, fine, and class C fine—were individually normalized using statistical z-scores and added together using their respective weights to create the metric. The violation of ordinance metric counts as 10% of the Individual Liberty category.
To see a specific city's laws for this metric, click on its name in the right column, then find the = Violation of Ordinances ?> row in the table below the Individual Liberty category.