Wednesday, October 25, 2006

In my gmail...

Michael Skudera sent me the following:
I read an article in a weekly paper that tells of a recently introduced ordinance by the Borough of Freehold to create a do-not knock registry.

The article explains, "Persons engaged in political, charitable or philanthropic canvassing will need to first obtain a permit." It further explains that an administrative cost will be charge to obtain this permit.

Free speech is a right, not a privilege in this great country. Passing a law that requires people to inform their government in advance that they plan on sharing religious or political views with other residents is a threat to democracy. You should not have to ask permission to exercise your first amendment rights.

If enacted, this law would subject anyone found to be violating it to a fine of up to $1,250 or imprisonment for up to 90 days. This would even include Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts trying to raise donations.

Recently the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia overturned a city ordinance that had similar provisions as the law trying to be passed in the Borough of Freehold. In 2002 the United States Supreme Court also issued a similar ruling protecting the rights of free speech.

In municipal government, ordinances are first introduced, and then placed on the agenda for a final vote at another meeting, giving time for public comment. I hope the elected officials in the Borough of Freehold do the right thing and remove the language that restricts free speech when this ordinance comes up for a final vote on November 6th. I would have not even voted for the introduction of this ordinance if it came up in my hometown.

Michael Skudera
Tinton Falls Councilman


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