New Sacramento city ordinance forbids certain actions at protests during city hall hours

12:30 AM, Sep 12, 2012   |    comments
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Sacramento City Hall

SACRAMENTO, CA - The Sacramento City Council voted to pass a city ordinance at Tuesday night's meeting that puts restrictions on protests.

The ordinance was passed unanimously.

Council members said the ordinance is aimed at reducing interruptions at city hall; the title of the ordinance is the "Use of the City Hall Facility."

However, civil libertarians said the ordinance limits free speech.

"I'm offended that you wish to take this right from me," said one protestor.

"This proposed ordinance is really about a vindictive attempt to get rid of the occupy people," said another speaker at City Council.

"This is not about occupy or any one group,"city council member Angelique Ashby said. "It's all a matter of trying to manage conflicting interests."

"We all have rights. We all have to live together and work on it together," city council member Steve Cohn said. "Not a violation of the constitution."

The ordinance restricts the following during city hall business hours:

  • multiple tables
  • large signs
  • amplified sound
  • horns
  • cowbells
  • whistles

Selling or serving food would be forbidden without a permit under the new ordinance.

The new ordinance also makes it illegal to be on city hall grounds between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., forbids sponge baths and washing clothes and dishes.

"It is to ensure a suitable working environment for city employees," city's facilities supervisor Rhonda Lake said. "It's to ensure there's unobstructed access to the facility for city staff also the city public. It's to protect the city's financial investment in the facility."

The ordinance takes effect within 30 days.


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