Tea Party fights Mich. town's banner ban

April 12, 2011 at 4:31 PM
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COLDWATER, Mich., April 12 (UPI) -- The city attorney for Coldwater. Mich., says he hopes the Tea Party's lawsuit challenging a ban on banners in city parks can be settled out of court.

Common Sense Patriots of Branch County sued in federal court in Grand Rapids last week, contending the resolution passed by the Coldwater City Council last November violated the constitutional right to free speech.

The resolution was a response to complaints city officials had received about a banner the Tea Party group hoisted in a downtown park last summer to promote its rallies.

City Attorney John Hutchinson says the measure was meant to address signs and banners tacked to or hung from poles or other public property, not those being held by someone, WTVB-AM, Coldwater, reported Tuesday.

Hutchinson told the radio station he plans to draft language to amend the resolution to clarify that goal and expects the City Council will approve it.

However, it remains to be seen whether that mollifies the Tea Party group. Robert Muise of the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, which is representing Common Sense Patriots, told the Michigan Capital Confidential, an online news site for conservative think tank Mackinaw Center for Public Policy, it wouldn't end the issue of city officials trying to stop signs from being posted in city parks.

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