Free speech: Trump administration wants to charge demonstrators on public land

Interior Secretary Ray Zinke has floated a proposal to charge protesters on public lands an “event management” fee. The fee would cover the costs of fencing, personnel salaries, trash removal and damages to grass. If enacted, the proposal will undoubtedly end up in court for its egregious burden on protesters. The Trump administration is ignoring that the 1939 Supreme Court ruling that streets and parks are held in trust by the government for purposes of assembly, the free exchange of ideas and discussion of vital issues. (Chicago Tribune, September 11, 2018, by Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and Carl Messineo in The Washington Post)

The proposal would drastically erode democracy, altering the nature of  “participatory democracy in America.” The National Park Service would have wide authority to exact, in effect, a protest tax. (Newsok, September 12, 2108, by Jen Hayden of the Daily Kos)

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