LANSING, Mich. (AP) — When Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder criticized obsolete, confusing and burdensome regulations during his State of the State address this month, he cited a requirement for the use of outhouses that is not on the books, according to state officials.
Snyder got laughs Jan. 18 after noting 28 separate state requirements for outhouses, including a rule that the seat not be left up.
"I don't know about you, but I have a higher authority at home," Snyder said, a reference to his wife. "I don't need the state telling me that."
The Detroit Free Press reported (http://on.freep.com/AFpUvx ) Monday that there is no regulation requiring outhouse users to put the seat down, only the lid. The Department of Environmental Quality's rule requires outhouse openings to be covered when not in use.
Sara Wurfel, a spokesperson for Snyder, said it doesn't matter whether the governor misstated the regulation.
"Whether it's a seat or lid, mandating that it be kept down perfectly illustrates the types of regulations that are outdated and need review," she said. "Do the taxpayers of Michigan really want a regulation on the books that could mean inspections of seat/lid placement would take place?"
One outhouse expert, however, said the regulation prevents disease.
Ronald Barlow, author of "The Vanishing American Outhouse," said one concern is spiders, rats and other critters crawling inside the opening and posing a threat to users. He said flies also could get into uncovered openings and spread disease.
Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com