[Hpn] ACLU Solicitors Lawsuit - Judge bars background check & license requirements in Medina WA USA fw requirements in Medina WA USA fw

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Mon, 06 Nov 2000 10:56:22 -0800 (PST)


"The ACLU filed suit last month on behalf of Peace Action of
Washington, a nonprofit group that had planned to distribute
information on candidates in next week's election, and United
States Mission, a nonprofit that provides housing to the homeless."

http://newsfinder.arinet.com/fpweb/fp.dll/$stargeneral/htm/x_dv.htm/_ibyx/cg0302
6/_itox/starnet/_svc/news/_Id/685263962/_k/uyTh3YBpMfNoIiKA
FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Nov 04, 2000

     JUDGE BARS ENFORCEMENT OF MEDINA SOLICITORS LAW

SEATTLE (AP) _ You can doorbell in Medina legally now.

A federal judge has ruled the wealthy Eastside community must
not enforce a law requiring people to apply for a license and
submit to background checks before they solicit people for
charitable contributions or distribute printed information on their
beliefs.

U.S. District Judge John Coughenour issued the temporary
injunction Friday.

The American Civil Liberties Union, citing free-speech issues,
had asked the judge to impose the injunction until a civil lawsuit
over the issue is resolved.

City officials have defended the law, saying it is needed to
protect the sanctity of people's homes in this quiet lakeside
community that has become an enclave of high-tech and other wealth.
Among its residents is Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, whose
seven-bedroom, five-acre house and grounds are valued at $110
million.

Coughenour, who heard brief arguments from both sides, said
later that the city will have an uphill battle convincing the court
that the law is constitutional.

``This law is pretty troublesome,'' Coughenour said. ``If the
city of Medina can do it, why can't the federal government do it
and say convicted felons can't participate in politics? ... I have
a hard time believing you can cure this problem in the 9th Circuit
Court.''

The ACLU filed suit last month on behalf of Peace Action of
Washington, a nonprofit group that had planned to distribute
information on candidates in next week's election, and United
States Mission, a nonprofit that provides housing to the homeless.

``Medina's law interfered with the right to freedom of speech,''
ACLU spokesman Gerard Sheehan said. ``And it was so poorly written
that it would have forced Girl Scouts selling cookies door to door
to register with police and undergo a criminal background check.''

When asked for comment Friday, Medina Mayor Dan Becker refused
to answer questions. City Manager Doug Schultz didn't return calls.

In court Friday, Medina City Attorney Kirk Wines defended the
city's door-to-door law.

``No court has said that it's improper to require registration
for solicitors going door-to-door-,'' Wines said. ''...(The ACLU)
is asking this court, I believe, to take a quantum leap.''

Adopted by the City Council in February, the law states that
anyone who wants to ``approach individuals'' or ``expound beliefs''
must obtain a city-approved license to do so. The law denies
registration to anyone convicted of a felony or a work-related
misdemeanor in the last 10 years.

Enforcement began in April. Trial is expected to begin within
two months.

AP-WS-11-04-00 1032EST
Received  Id AP10030933C7C0D2 on Nov 04 2000 15:22

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