Law & Order – Yelm Ordinances

Law & Order in Yelm

Introduction: Yelm incorporated in 1924 and the town council soon began passing ordinances. Here are some summarized selections from Yelm’s long list of ordinances.

1925 – Regulation of pool halls and card rooms – A license is required to own or regulate a pool hall or card room. License fee is $25 a year.  Punishment: $10-100 fine plus imprisonment until paid, not exceeding 50 days.

1925 – Prohibit stock from running at large – No livestock allowed at large within Yelm city limits. Duty of Marshall to impound all animals found. Release of animal will cost $2.50, plus an additional $1.00 for any extra day the animal is held (12 hours required). After ten days of being held, the Marshall can sell, at a public sale, for cash.

1925 – To preserve public morality, peace, and the safety of Yelm. It shall be unlawful for any person to be found:

  1. Fighting or engaging in disorderly conduct and use of profane or abusive language;
  2. Carrying a concealed weapon;
  3. Drawing weapons upon another with intent to intimidate or annoy;
  4. Discharging weapons within city limits or use of other explosives without permission from the City Council;
  5. Slandering others that produces a disturbance of the peace; or to challenge another to a fight;
  6. Agreeing to fight, except for athletic or boxing contests sanctioned by an official club or organization;
  7. Making boisterous noises after 10 p.m.;
  8. Being a common drunkard, beggar, run away, or idle and dissolute person;
  9. Being a known thief;
  10. Under the influence of opium or soliciting alms;
  11. Engaging in prostitution;
  12. Being found with a prostitute;
  13. Seeking a prostitute;
  14. Loitering for soliciting prostitution;
  15. Owning or operating a house for prostitution;
  16. Living in a house of prostitution;
  17. Exposing themselves indecently;
  18. Habitually playing games of chance or profit;
  19. Gambling or owning gambling devices;
  20. Establishing a place for gambling or holding a lottery;
  21. Wagering anything of value, such as roulette, poker, etc.;
  22. Acting in a suspicious manner beyond 11 p.m. outdoors;
  23. Collecting or congregating in public crowds;
  24. Obstructing public road or sidewalk traffic by standing or loitering;
  25. Watching or staging cockfights or fights with other animals;
  26. Establishing a cockfighting arena;
  27. Exposing poison to man or animal;
  28. Defacing public or private property;
  29. Destroying public or private property;
  30. Destroying street signs or advertisements;
  31. Altering city of Yelm Bulletin Boards, unless you are an employee of the city;
  32. Spitting on the street, sidewalk, or other public conveyances;
  33. Selling tobacco to persons under the age of 21 years;
  34. Impersonating a police officer;
  35. Opposing arrest by an officer or annoying an officer;
  36. Rescuing a person from prison;
  37. Refusing to aid a police officer in an arrest for males 18 years of age or older;
  38. Mischievously throwing objects at any person and or their belongings to annoy;
  39. Messing with water mains, gas pipes, or electric wire without permission;
  40. Loitering or playing pool or billiards in a billiard room if you are under the age of 21 years;
  41. Posting signs on trees or public posts, tying animals to trees or posts, or damaging a tree or post without permission;
  42. Injuring or destroying any flower, foliage, or shrubbery on property not his;
  43. Emptying debris on public roads or sidewalks, such as, paper, nails, broken glass, bottles, garbage, etc.;
  44. Driving on sidewalk without a special permit from the City Council;
  45. Polluting or interfering with public spring or fountain;
  46. Preventing the use of evidence in any case.

Punishment: Violation of above is deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and will be subject to a fine not exceeding $100 or by imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, or both.

1927 – Preservation of public morals, peace, safety, and good order.
It shall be unlawful for:

  1. Any priest or rabbi found in possession of any intoxicating liquor;
  2. Any person maintaining a storage for the unlawful sale of intoxicating liquors. Punishment: $25 to $100 fine, or jail to not exceed 30 days. If you fail to pay the fine, one is deemed to work on public streets at the rate of $3 a day until all fines are paid.

1928 – Operation of municipal water system.

  1. Nobody can sell water without a permit;
  2. No water-transport methods constructed without permit;
  3. Monthly rates:
    3,000 gallons or less…..$1.50
    3,000-4,000 gallons……. 1.90
    4,000-5,000 gallons……. 2.20
    5,000-6,000 gallons……. 2.40
    Installation services……15.00
    Outside Yelm limits,
    Under 3,000 gallons……. 2.00

1928 Amendment to Ordinance No. 23
An addition of .30 cents per thousand dollars of water is to be added to people receiving water outside of Yelm limits, and an addition of .15 cents per thousand gallons is to be added to people receiving more than 6,000 gallons of water, per month.

1929 Control of Unlicensed Radio Broadcasting

  1. It is unlawful to operate any apparatus that interferes with radio broadcasting or reception between 2 p.m. and midnight.
  2. Devices include violet ray machines, open or quenched spark machines, machines using Telsa Coil or principle, X-ray machines, or other devices that produce high frequency oscillations.
  3. This law does not apply to radio stations, who are licensed by federal government or those employed in interstate communication.

Punishment: Fine not exceeding $100, or 30 days in jail.

1936 Prohibition of punch boards
It shall be unlawful for any person found:

  1. Maintaining a vending machine, punch board, manual game automatic game, or skill game;

Punishment: Persons found guilty are subject to a maximum fine of $100 or 90 days in jail.
“Therefore it is hereby ordained that an emergency exists and this ordinance shall take effect immediately.”

1938 To regulate and control the licensing of any marble game

  1. One person must have a license to operate game that takes skill, whether or not a fee is charged;
  2. The license will cost $5.00 for each game per month and all fees are to be paid one month in advance.
  3. License must be posted in a conspicuous place, under glass, on top of each game.

1945 Volunteer firemen’s relief and pension fund

  1. Enactment of Volunteer Firemen’s Relief and Pension Fund will proved relief and compensation for injured volunteer and retirees;
  2. Maximum membership is limited to 20 people per 1,000 population of the town.

1954 Ordinance relating to abandoned, unused or discarded ice boxes

  1. It is unlawful to leave an ice box with a lid equipped with a snap lock in an unattended area;

Punishment: Such a crime is deemed a misdemeanor and all persons will be subject to a fine not exceeding $100, or 30 days in jail, or both.
Furthermore, each day constitutes a separate offense.

1953 Adoption of 1954 budget
Estimated Revenues

Current Expenses
Taxes: 10 mills $3,296.20
Licenses $300.00
Liquor revenues $2,166.72
Police court fines $1,254.48
Additional expenses $4,302.72
Total $11,320.12


Water Funds
Consumer collections $7,200.00
Hook-ups $50.00
Balances on hand $1,500.00
Other expenses $9,113.09

Grand total of all estimated revenues for 1954 $29183.21

Estimated Expenditures

Current Expense
Marshall salary $3,600.00
Marshall expense $1,000.00
Jail expense and meals $150.00
State Auditor $250.00
Outlay-Police Department $1,670.00
Street fund $2,672.49
Water fund $11,600.00
Garbage fund $2,800.00
Other expenditures $8,240.72

Grand total of estimated expenditures for 1954 $29,183.21

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