Wisconsin town makes puking in public illegal; 1st citation given


Welcome to River Falls, Wisconsin. Make sure not to barf in public while you're here.

That's not the official (or unofficial) slogan of the western Wisconsin town of 15,000. But it is good advice if you want to be a law-abiding citizen.

The River Falls City Council approved a law earlier this month making a public display of yakking a crime, KSTP reports.

The new measure is an amendment of a current statute, which, up until the recent puke passage, only listed public urination and defecation as a crime. Now, the word "vomiting" has been added, along with a penalty of however much it costs the city to clean up the public space as a result of the above-listed bodily functions.

Barfing in public space is described as an "ongoing problem" in the City Council document outlining the ordinance. City sidewalks in particular were highlighted.

"It is not uncommon to be walking on the sidewalk and having to sidestep to avoid these type of deposits," the document says, adding it's usually caused by an "over indulgence" of alcohol (or more simply, "when people drink too much").

And that new law has borne its first offending fruit.

According to the Pierce County Herald, a 23-year-old man was cited around 2 a.m. Sunday for public vomiting – becoming the first-ever person to be cited in River Falls for such a violation. The publication says the man threw up about 10 feet from a trash can, and reportedly told police a combination of drinking and smoking a cigarette caused it.

KSTP reports the man got a $124 fine, a court date, plus the possibility of more fees depending on the clean-up cost.

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Searches for public vomiting laws in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth and Bemidji turned up no results (multiple terms such as vomit and barfing were attempted). In addition, a Sterling Codifiers statewide search also came up empty. The term "urination" returned numerous results in all searches.

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