Utah towns under scrutiny for curbs on free speech

An arrest in Farmington, Utah of animal rights protesters for demonstrating without a permit prompted an investigation by Eric Ethington of the Salt Lake City Weekly, September 23, that revealed that over 3/4s of the 30 towns surveyed in the area required protest permits, and seven towns required both a fee and a permit.

The ACLU had brought a lawsuit against Utah’s Bingham City in 2012 over its free speech zone law that required a permit for most forms of public expression and only allowed distribution of literature or speech-making in approved free speech zones. The lawsuit was in support of a  nondenominational church prevented from distributing circulars in front of a new Mormon temple. In response to the lawsuit the city allowed the church to distribute its literature, repealed the law and settled the lawsuit in 2013 by agreeing to pay $11,000 in attorney’s fees and court costs. (Reuters, September 12, 2015, by Jennifer Dobner)