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Idaho Civil Liberties Win Another Free Speech Battle

Benito Baeza

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Civil liberties activists won another victory in their bid to protect free speech when they convinced Idaho senators to reject rules designed to manage rallies around the Idaho Capitol. The Senate State Affairs Committee yesterday voted 7-2 to dump the disputed rules crafted by the Department of Administration.

The agency had sought to limit protest duration and give special treatment to state events. Idaho crafted the rules after the “Occupy Boise” protests of 2011 and 2012. Last year, however, U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill decided the rules violated constitutional free speech protections.

Even so, Department of Administration Director Teresa Luna had urged lawmakers to pass them anyway, to buttress Idaho’s legal appeal. The matter isn’t quite closed. The House now must reject the rules, before they’re banished completely.

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