First Amendment

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The Tippecanoe County Commissioners are one vote away from changing their policy on how the county courthouse may be used for displays and demonstrations.

The previous policy, which allowed the commissioners to approve or deny permits as they saw fit, was struck down by a federal court earlier this year.

The new policy is, in the words of county attorney Doug Masson, “viewpoint neutral,” though it retains restrictions on when a display may occur – mostly to avoid disturbing legal proceedings in the courthouse.

The Senate Local Government Committee will wait to vote on a bill that would require law enforcement to clear protesters from roadways by “any means necessary.”

The proposal raised alarm with lawmakers and members of the public Wednesday at its first hearing.

The bill, from state Sen. James Tomes (R-Wadesville), would require a mayor or other public official to dispatch all available law enforcement within 15 minutes of a report of a mass traffic obstruction.

Carissa Rogers / https://www.flickr.com/photos/goodncrazy/5531939741

A federal court says an Indiana law banning robocalls can bar political calls without violating the First Amendment. 

Indiana law bars anyone from making autodialed phone calls with just three exceptions – schools sending messages to parents, students and employees, employers calling workers about their schedule, or callers that have an existing relationship with a subscriber. 

Brownsburg Community Schools

A pair of Brownsburg cafeteria workers says the Community School Corporation violated their First Amendment rights when it punished them for expressing their opinions on social media, and have filed a lawsuit against the school system in federal court.

Tina Gracey and Brenda Farnsworth allege the school took unconstitutional disciplinary action against them for posting in a Facebook group that criticized two proposed ballot referenda.

Chris Richards / https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrismrichards/1525185825

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles will ask the state Supreme Court to overturn a lower court order to restart the state‘s personalized license plate program.

BMV Commissioner Don Snemis says a notice of appeal will ask the justices to overturn the May ruling of Marion County Superior Court Judge James Osborn. Osborn’s ruling says the BMV violated the First Amendment rights of some of those whose personalized plates had been denied.