The law that I got changed, in Springville City Utah
It cost me a camera, a few hours in jail and the cost of hiring two separate lawyers, but I did it. I got my first law changed.
I got arrested for this law on 6/12/2010, the only person in existence to get nailed with this “crime” of free speech in Springville.
Now I have proof that this law has been change, because on 7/20/2010 the City Council changed this un-American ordinance.
11. Consideration to amend ordinance on issuing Permits for public protesting –
John Penrod, City Attorney
Attorney Penrod informed the Council that a situation during Art City Days brought
attention to a need to change the language on Section 8-4-108 of Springville City Code. The
City requires a written permit from the Council for congregating on streets or sidewalks. If a
person or group wants to assemble it is unlawful to obstruct or interfere with free passage of
persons or business. Additionally, the person or group must go through a process to receive
written permission and be issued a permit from the Council. The last such permit was issued in
2001 and Attorney Penrod could not find record of another. There is always a concern for public
safety and order in the community, so blocking or obstructing people and business is not
allowed. The process of obtaining a permit from the Council is the issue. If the permit process is
too lengthy, it infringes on the freedom to protest, and according to case law thirty-days is too
long. When comparing case law to the process in Springville City, it may take too long for
someone to receive approval since Council meetings are held twice a month. Other Springville
City ordinances requiring a permit appear to be more flexible. Examples are given in the staff
report of Provo City’s decision not to require a permit. Parades and protesters follow certain laws
for public safety and order in the community. There is a process for special events approval
through the Public Safety, Buildings and Grounds, and Administration departments before
shutting down streets for events such as a parade. Enough protections already exist so that
requiring a permit from the Council can be removed from the language of the ordinance.
Mayor Clyde agreed that a permit would only state what is required or allowed, so a
permit shouldn’t require Council approval. Attorney Penrod remarked that the requirements
could be put in a policy, for example a group of five may not need a permit. The difference
would be if the group was impeding traffic flow. Mayor Clyde asked if a group congregating in a
City park would need a permit. Attorney Penrod answered that the number of people constituting
a group is not specified, but when large groups are using the area in a City park for a specific
period of time they are required to rent a pavilion. The City must be content neutral when
defining what is allowed. There is a difference between using a City park lawfully or doing
something that is not lawfully allowed. Administrator Fitzgerald interjected that the City is
generally approached when something happens in a location that isn’t normally seen, such as
closing a road or when additional toilet facilities are required. Attorney Penrod noted that the
requirement to obtain a permit in writing from the Council is in the last sentence of the
ordinance. Eliminating that sentence will not diminish the City’s ability to maintain order
because of the other provisions already in place, but simply removes the requirement to come
before the Council for approval of a permit.
CL. JOLLEY MOVED TO APPROVE ORDINANCE #12-2010 AMENDING
SECTION 8-4-108 OF THE SPRINGVILLE CITY CODE. CL. BIRD SECONDED THE
MOTION. A ROLL CALL VOTE WAS TAKEN. CL. STRONG – YES, CL BIRD – YES, CL.
JOLLEY – YES, CL. OLSEN – YES. THE MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.