City council votes to change ordinance as part of ACLU of Missouri lawsuit agreement

Harrisonville, Mo. – Residents of Harrisonville, Mo., are now able to express their free speech by putting up  signs on their property, including political signs, without fear of violating a city ordinance that had placed unconstitutional restrictions on signs.

Following settlement talks in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Missouri, the Harrisonville City Council voted to change a city ordinance that unconstitutionally regulated signs based on their content. It put strict limitations on election-related yard signs in particular and required a permit for most other temporary yard signs.

“I’m glad that all of my neighbors in Harrisonville will now be able to express their political opinions without worrying if a city official will come to their property to take down their signs – or charge them with a fine for expressing their views,” said Kelly Street, the plaintiff in the lawsuit.

The challenged ordinance was unconstitutional because it restricted how and when residents could place signs on their property based upon the content of those signs—a First Amendment violation.

“Free speech is at the cornerstone of a strong democracy,” said Tony Rothert, legal director, ACLU of Missouri. “No one should have to fear the government because they choose to express their opinions. We’re glad the city of Harrisonville chose to resolve this matter quickly and fairly.”

The ACLU of Missouri is also involved in another similar lawsuit defending the free speech rights of people living in the city of Bel-Nor, in St. Louis County.

You can read Harrisonville’s new ordinance and the settlement agreement here.

 

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