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Want to know what is on our minds? Find blog posts written here, by the City Club staff, members, and partners. Every week you can find a new edition of #FreeSpeech in the News — a collection of related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century that’s making the news. You’ll also find takes on current events, past forums, and issues surrounding Northeast Ohio. Read on for all things City Club.

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Sunday, September 29, 2019

#FREESPEECH IN THE NEWS: September 30, 2019

Bliss Davis, Content and Programming Coordinator, The City Club of Cleveland

#FREESPEECH IN THE NEWS: September 30, 2019

As the Citadel of Free Speech here in Cleveland, we work to protect and promote the basis of our democracy by sharing related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century. Here's what's making the news – and what you should know about – in the past week.

1.) Man says police restricting his free speech over his anti-gun control car sticker

A Sumner County man is claiming his first amendment rights have been violated after Sheriff’s Department deputies cited him for an obscene car sticker.

It shows two rifles sandwiching the letters “U” and “C,” followed by the words “Gun Control.” According to the official citation, law enforcement says the message spells out the “F word."

Nicholas Ennis says it’s been on his truck for about a year. It’s got the symbol of a M-16 at the front and a symbol of an AK-47 at the end of it. The only thing you see on it is U-C gun control and two guns,” Ennis said. The car decal caught the eye of deputies yesterday at the Mapco in Westmoreland.

2.) Using term 'illegal alien' may cost offenders up to $250,000 in New York City — and free-speech advocates don't like it one bit

The New York City Commission on Human Rights said using the term "illegal alien" with the intent to "demean, humiliate, or harass a person" can cost offenders up to $250,000, according to new legal enforcement guidance the agency released last week.

The guidance defines discrimination on the basis of perceived or actual immigration status and national origin under the New York City Human Rights Law in public accommodations, employment, and housing, the agency added.

Fines of up to $250,000 can be assessed for each act of willful discrimination, and damages are available to complainants, the news release said.

3.) Lawsuit: Texas limits on drone photos violate free speech

A federal lawsuit filed Thursday in Austin seeks to strike down Texas laws that restrict what can legally be photographed by drones.

Filed by two journalism organizations and a reporter, the lawsuit argues that a 2013 law places improper limits on news gathering, violating the First Amendment by making it a crime to capture images of private property, or a person on that property, no matter where the drone is flying.

The law bans the use of drones with the “intent to conduct surveillance,” a phrase that is not defined and is vague enough to include most news-gathering activities, allowing for arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement, the lawsuit argued.

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