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City Of Sacramento Scraps Proposed Picketing Restrictions

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Groups against a proposed Sacramento Police protesting ordinance are not allowed upstairs at City Hall, Tuesday Aug. 15, 2017.

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

UPDATED, Aug. 16, 9:30 a.m.: Steinberg successfully petitioned the council Tuesday night to remove protestors' noise and distance restrictions from a package of nuisance law changes that the council is considering. 

The proposal was part of a package of changes to nuisance ordinances. The city council plans to discuss that larger package next week and will take a vote on Sept. 29.

Original Post: Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg has come out against Councilman Steve Hansen's attempt to change the ordinance on protests outside private residences. Two such demonstrations occurred outside Hansen's home earlier this year.

"I sympathize with what he went through." Steinberg, says, "On the other hand, I don't think the government should say what the rules should be other than prohibiting unlawful and aggressive and threatening behavior."

Steinberg says he will ask the city council to withdraw the proposal from consideration.

The Sacramento Police Department made the proposal in July that would outlaw picketing outside private residences. It passed the council's Law and Legislation Committee and is on the full council's agenda Tuesday night. 

A group of 40 organizations delivered a letter to the Sacramento City Council Tuesday that says picketing and protests in residential neighborhoods with bullhorns should remain legal.

Aaron Miner with the Wellstone Progressive Democrats says rules that prohibit protests on public sidewalks are unconstitutional.

"As soon as we began abridging freedom of speech in these ways, as soon as we give the police and city hall to schedule protests at their leisure, it eliminates the bargaining power of the people and that is what the first amendment I believe is supposed to protect and that is what we are going to defend," Miner says.

Steinberg commended Hansen for authoring the proposal as part of a package of changes to nuisance ordinances.

The groups against the rules change attempted to deliver their letter to the city council's receptionist on the fifth floor of city hall, but were denied by security downstairs. After the groups spent several minutes chanting and singing, a security officer eventually escorted one person upstairs to deliver the letter.

The City Manager's Officer says it is city hall policy to accept letters downstairs, and not allow anyone upstairs without an appointment.

Representatives for council members Angelique Ashby and Eric Guerra met the protestors downstairs to take the letters in person.


City Of Sacramento City Hall Visitor Policy by Capital Public Radio on Scribd

Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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