Ordinance – a municipal regulation, usually forbidding or restricting an activity

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1. An authoritative law or decree; specifically, a municipal regulation, especially one that forbids or restricts an activity.  *  Municipal governments can pass ordinances on matters that the state government allows to be regulated at the local level.  A municipal ordinance carries the state’s authority and has the same effect within the municipality’s limits as a state statute. – aka bylaw; municipal ordinance. [1]

1. The act of the legislative body of a municipal corporation.  A local law of a municipal corporation, of a general and permanent nature. 37 Am J1st Mun Corp § 142

A bylaw of a municipal corporation. 37 Am J1st Mun Corp § 142

A rule established for and in a municipal corporation by authority. State ex rel. Maxey v Swindell, 146 Ind 527, 45 NE 700.

In a broader sense, a rule established by authority. State v Swindell, 146 Ind 527, 45 NE 700; Kepner v Commonwealth, 40 Pa 124, 130.
See Northwest Ordinance of 1787. [2]

1. A law of a municipal corporation; a local law enacted by a city council, town council, board of supervisors, or the like.

2. A rule established by authority. [3]

     Excerpt from Eugene McQuillin’s A Treatise on the Law of Municipal Ordinances (1904):

     “Local laws of a municipal corporationduly enacted by the proper authorities, prescribing general, uniform and permanent rules of conduct, relating to the corporate affairs of the municipality, are, in this country, genera y designated as ordinances.  ‘By-laws’ or ‘bye-laws’ was the original designation.  In England and in a few states such local laws are so named, the prefix ‘by’ or ‘bye’ signifying the place of habitation or local community with defined limits.  The words ‘by-laws’ and ‘ordinances’ are often used interchangeably in statutes and charters, as that upon ‘the passage of any by-law or ordinance,’ the yeas and nays shall be called and recorded.  Occasionally the general term ordinance is used in a broad sense, so as to embrace municipal charters and statutes relating to the government of the municipality.  However, such use is inaccurate, for ordinances are not, in the constitutional sense, public laws, but mere local regulations or by-laws, operating in a particular locality. [4]

     Excerpt from 1 Judith O’Gallagher, Municipal Ordinances § 1A.01, at 3 (2d ed.1998):

     “An ordinance . . . may be purely administrative in nature, establishing offices, prescribing duties, or setting salaries; it may have to do with the routine or procedure of the governing body.   Or it may be a governmental exercise of the power to control the conduct of the public establishing rules which must be complied with, or prohibiting certain actions or conduct.   In any event it is the determination of the sovereign power of the state as delegated to the municipality.  It is a legislative enactment, within its sphere, as much as an act of the state legislature. [5]


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[4]: Eugene McQuillin, A Treatise on the Law of Municipal Ordinances 2-3 (1904) (citation omitted).

[5]: 1 Judith O’Gallagher, Municipal Ordinances § 1A.01, at 3 (2d ed.1998).


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