Spotlight: A political speech victory

MADISON — Facing the threat of a lawsuit, the Town of New Chester has repealed its ban on distributing political materials on public grounds.

The small Adams County community had adopted an ordinance following the 2020 elections aimed at barring the distribution of “political materials” on pubic property. New Chester officials defined “political materials” as “signs, handbills, flyers, and any other printed materials that supports or opposes a candidate for partisan office or it supports or opposes a ballot measure.” Violators faced a $1,000 fine.

“No person may distribute or post political materials on town property owned, occupied, or controlled by the town,” the ordinance stated.

Resident Steve Blake had previously distributed political materials on public land in the township. He feared doing it following passage of the ordinance would land him in trouble, so he retained the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty to represent him.

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