In a Free County, Free State, or Free Nation our unalienable rights should be fully protected from any/all infringement of government trying to limit or take them away. Our Founding Fathers knew how important this was and that is why they didn’t pass the United States Constitution without the First Ten Amendments – Our Bill of Rights. These really should have been called the “Bill of Limitations” since it reminds our governments what they cannot do to the people.
The La Plata County government thinks that they can limit your First Amendment Right and silence the voice and expression of the people.
They are implementing laws which are in violation of the U.S. Constitution. All 3 of the LPC Board of County Commissioners, unanimously, passed a new provision to our County Code (Section 38-1) which says the following about our First Amendment:
A. The Following properties are designated as public forums for freedom of speech and/or expression activities. All other county properties are not public forums. These properties have traditionally been used for purposes of assembly, communicating thoughts between members of the public and discussing public questions (then it lists all 2 of them)…
This ordinance continues where they use CENSORSHIP to say who can speak and who can’t and on what topic they choose in certain county places.
B. The following property is designated as a limited public forum that is open only to particular categories of speakers or only speakers on a particular topic (and then it lists those 2 places as the Board Room and the Fairgrounds).
Finally, they ensure that the LPC citizens understand how their free speech is PROHIBITED unless approved by the County Manager.
C. All other county properties are not public forums. Both the interiors and exteriors of county property and facilities are not open to the public for purposes of free speech expression and are expressly reserved solely for the function of county government and furtherance of county purposes as determined by the board or another county elected official with respect to that elected official’s office. Signs, banners, lights or other material affixed to or projected against the walls or surfaces of county facilities or structures otehr than those approved by the manager are prohibited.
Here is the New Section as it reads in the Land Use Code:
To listen to the discussion on this ordinance when it was first read to the BOCC by the County Attorney, you can click here and go to 29:40 and/or to listen to the shorter discussion when it was passed, you can click here and go to 1:18:08 for the beginning of the discussion and then the vote takes place on 1:19:53.
Here is the Agenda from the BOCC meeting on May 22 where you can see how the County Attorney’s Office proposed this revised code – 2018-05-22 Board of County Commissioners – Public Agenda-2988 and here is the Agenda Request from the County Attorney – Announcement of 38-1 to BOCC from County Attny
Here is the first reading of the ordinance that was posted in the Durango Herald – Durango Herald Announcement of 38-1
The First Amendment is VERY clear when it states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
College Campuses across the nation have been fighting back against these “Free Speech Zones” and it has gotten so much traction that the Goldwater Institute has created model legislation to counter it and 4 states are covered by some parts of this model legislation: North Carolina, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia.
North Carolina passed legislation called “Restore/Preserve Campus Free Speech“
In Georgia, they filed a legislative act using the Goldwater model but, unfortunately, “Georgia’s public universities have a disturbing history of suppressing speech by restricting it to tiny “zones” so it didn’t really, fully, protect their First Amendment right. 🙁
Nebraska has introduced similar legislation.
The Senate has a bill proposed to protect students on college campuses to not have to deal with these “Free-speech zones .”
A bill was signed into law in Colorado by Governor Hickenlooper on April 4, 2017 which protects students from this infringement on their First Amendment rights…so, Why would the people in La Plata County allow this????
Also, at the Bundy Ranch in 2014, the people took up arms against the Federal Government in order to stand up for their rights, especially their Freedom of Speech after the Feds tried to put up this area:
The La Plata County Attorney (Sheryl Rogers) and County Manager (Joana Spina) somehow believe that they can try to control your rights by sneaking in these small revisions into the Land Use Code in hopes that nobody will notice and every member of the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted to approve it.
Has the legal department become the 4th County Commissioner of La Plata County? How will they enforce this censorship of free speech? Why didn’t one of the Commissioners bring up how this would infringe on the rights of the citizens? Whose job is it to hold them accountable? – THE PEOPLE!!
Isn’t it time that “We the People” stand up against this tyranny at our local levels?
**Join the Conversation about what the people in La Plata County should do about this tyranny**
This is the ONLY place where any “Free Speech Zone” applies!!
Here is Ron Paul discussing what Free Speech truly means and how we are moving more and more towards a fascist society.