City leaders in Kalamazoo, Michigan, unanimously voted last week to decriminalize public defecation, littering and urination.

Driving the news: The acts are now considered civil infractions rather than misdemeanors, meaning you can no longer be punished by jail for committing the offenses.

  • Other civil infractions include speeding, running stop signs and careless driving, typically resulting in fines and possible points on your driving record.

What they're saying: Some local Kalamazoo business owners are upset over the changes, saying they are concerned that issues with littering and public defecation near their stores could worsen.

  • Pop City Popcorn co-owner Becky Bil told Fox News about her concerns for surrounding shops, saying, "I don’t have a horrible time outside my shop particularly … but my neighbor has had human feces outside his door.”
  • Local chocolate and coffee shop owner Cherri Emery said that her store had experienced issues, as well. "One day, we kept smelling something in the back of the store … and it was human feces,” she said.
  • “I called my landlord and nobody would do anything about it. This is before we had ambassadors … so I had to clean it up myself," Emery continued, per Fox News.
  • Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson said "he hopes the change will allow police to better use their time related to these issues, and that the effort is part of changing ordinances for equity," M Live reported.
  • "I hear you. ... The approach of criminalizing these activities has also not done anything about it,” continued Anderson.

So is it still illegal? Yes, public urination, defecation and littering are still against the law in Kalamazoo. City Attorney Clyde Robinson spoke out about the changes to the city's code saying, "It still remains a violation of our city ordinances. We didn’t change that," per Wood TV.

  • “It’s still against the law, but we’ve changed the penalty to a civil infraction, which means there is no jury trial and it’s proof by a preponderance of the evidence," Robinson continued.
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Details: According to the New York Post, Kalamazoo "recently installed an approximately $100,000 fully furnished restroom near the Kalamazoo Mall" to help control urine and feces on the streets.

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