Wisconsin City Considers Decriminalizing Snowball Fights

Wausau City Council members plan to revisit a 1962 law that bans snowball throwing

Wisconsin City Considers Decriminalizing Snowball Fights
Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

Wausau, Wisconsin, could be undergoing a big change next month, when City Council members will consider lifting the city’s ban on … snowball fights.

A 1962 ban on throwing projectiles in Wausau — a city that receives around 56 inches of snow annually, double the national average — includes snowballs, among with things like rocks, arrows. Those brave enough to ignore the ban have risked getting a ticket. But winters in Wausau could soon change forever, as indicated by City Council President Lisa Rasmussen, who said the recent national backlash over the law has prompted questions over whether they should remove snowballs from the list.

Wausau police and even the mayor made a video showing officers engaging in a snowball fight, showing their support for the removal.

“A fun snowball fight is a fun snowball fight,” Deputy Chief Matt Barnes says in the video, “and that’s not something we enforce this ordinance with.”

According to Wisconsin Public Radio News, within the past 15 years, the police department has used the ordinance to write 15 tickets. Citations include people shooting crossbows into a neighbor’s yard, dropping sandbags off of roofs and two snowball-related offenses.

Wausau’s elected officials plan to vote at their next City Council meeting on whether to rescind the language that makes snowball fights potential crimes.

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