Law & Principles

Trent England | March 15, 2017

Bill would limit code enforcement abuse

Trent England

If we have neighbors, we generally want their property to look … the way we want it to look. Before the age of bureaucratic government, if a property owner was a real nuisance, a neighbor could bring a private action in a court of law. In recent years, however, cities have woven dense webs of codes. Some of them make sense, they simply turn the old law of nuisance into written rules. Others are questionable—tall hedges might be a hazard, or just an eyesore to busybody neighbors. Some are downright silly, like penalties for cracked paint or parking a few inches off the driveway.

Rep. Kevin Calvey wants to protect property owners from the worst abuses of city code enforcement. His “No Jail for Paint Act,” House Bill 1691, would require cities to enforce their own liens when they impose fines on residents. In its present form, it would also protect homeowners with mortgages from foreclosure based on such a lien. These limitations on city power would make sure cities bear the cost of code enforcement, making abusive enforcement less likely.

Rep. Calvey was a guest on "The Trent England Show" to talk about the bill. It must be passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives by next week in order to move on to the Senate. Listen to the podcast below.

Trent England David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

Trent England

David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

Trent England is the David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, where he previously served as executive vice president. He is also the founder and executive director of Save Our States, which educates Americans about the importance of the Electoral College. England is a producer of the feature-length documentary “Safeguard: An Electoral College Story.” He has appeared three times on Fox & Friends and is a frequent guest on media programs from coast to coast. He is the author of Why We Must Defend the Electoral College and a contributor to The Heritage Guide to the Constitution and One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty. His writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Times, Hillsdale College's Imprimis speech digest, and other publications. Trent formerly hosted morning drive-time radio in Oklahoma City and has filled for various radio hosts including Ben Shapiro. A former legal policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, he holds a law degree from The George Mason University School of Law and a bachelor of arts in government from Claremont McKenna College.

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