Wisconsin News

Group challenging Town of Campbell ordinance in Federal court

The group says the ordinance takes away their first amendment rights

Group challenging Town of Campbell ordinance in Federal court

TOWN OF CAMPBELL, Wis. (WKBT) - A group of residents is challenging a Town of Campbell ordinance saying it takes away their first amendment rights.

A public interest law firm based in Michigan filed a federal lawsuit with the residents citing a new ordinance that bans displays from highway overpasses and nearby areas.

The ordinance was established in October following political displays on the footbridge crossing I-90 on French Island.

Four people received citations at the displays including two of the plaintiffs in the case. "Our constitutional rights were violated by the town turning the sidewalk into a dead speech zone," said plaintiff Greg Luce.

"They've banned banners, pendants, balloons, streamers, and even the American flag, which is what I was cited for," said plaintiff Nick Newman.

The attorney for the Town of Campbell says the ordinance is similar to one in Madison.

He says it only takes one distracting sign to change traffic flow and cause an accident and that people's safety is more important. "There's many, many places in the Town of Campbell that that could take place, but with regard to the overhead and you have a concern of safety for those driving towards the overhead, we think on that balance that safety prevails," said attorney Brent Smith.

The town board is expected to sit down in the next couple of days to consider its options.

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