State Violated Free Speech Rights, Advocates Claim
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 15, 2006
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH--A disability rights advocacy group has joined an anti-hunger group in suing the state of Utah, claiming that their freedom of speech was violated during the most recent legislative session when they were prohibited from passing out leaflets and buttons at the state Capitol.
The Disabled Rights Action Committee and the Anti-Hunger Action Committee filed the suit in federal court Friday. The advocates alleged that when they were on Capitol Hill to lobby for more funding for Medicaid services and other programs, Utah Highway Patrol and House security officers threatened to arrest some activists and confiscate their fliers if they distributed them to people who had not asked for them.
The organizations want the court to issue an injunction that would stop the state from interfering with their constitutional free speech rights in the future. They also want the state to pay unspecified monetary damages.
The state has already settled a similar case filed by an animal rights group.