Arkansas Town Could Gag Political Talk

Monday, 18 Jul 2011 12:23 PM

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A tiny town in Arkansas has taken on the basic tenets of democracy and the United States Constitution by drafting legislation that essentially makes it illegal to discuss local politics without approval of the city council, reports the Little Rock Fox News affiliate.

Gould, Arkansas, Constitution, council, allow, politics, groupsThe vaguely worded legislation by the Gould City Council disbands the Gould Citizens Advisory Council and requires new groups to get council approval before forming. With its current wording, the law would cover Boy Scout troops and book reading clubs.

The ordinance, which states, “No new organizations shall be allowed to exist within the city of Gould without approval from majority of the city council,” was vetoed by Mayor Earnest Nash. The city council rejected his veto, and will vote on it again at its next meeting in August. Council members reportedly tried to fire Nash.

“I couldn’t believe that it was real when I first read it,” University of Arkansas law professor John DiPippa told the Fox affiliate. "The truth is the city of Gould doesn't have the authority to tell anyone that they have no right to petition them, no right to speak and no right to exist in their city.”

DiPippa said a costly, embarrassing lawsuit will likely result from the move.

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