The Ku Klux Klan is challenging a new Desloge, Missouri ordinance that bans them from distributing flyers in city streets.
A judge has already struck down a city wide ban on distributing leaflets that the Klan had fought with the help of the ACLU. Tony Rothert, legal director for the ACLU's Eastern District of Missouri says the Supreme Court has long held that handing out leaflets is protected by the First Amendment.
Rothert says that neither he, nor the ACLU agrees with the KKK`s message, just their right to share it. "We think it’s important for all Americans that they be able to distribute literature to get their ideas out in peaceful ways and let the market place of ideas debate who’s right,” he said.
Rother has suggested the that the city's new ordinance is an attempt to get around the earlier judges ruling.
Desloge city administrator Greg Camp says that's not true. Camp says, it's never been a question of First Amendment rights. "Regardless of the message, we have to respect the fact that everyone has the right to free speech," he said. "The concern is for people being in the road."
Camp says the city consulted with an attorney before crafting the new measure, and they believe it will hold up in court.
The city has until Monday (May 6th) to respond to the ACLU's new complaint.
Desloge is about 60 miles south of St. Louis.
St. Louisans had a chance to review the framework of the expansion plans the Saint Louis Zoo is developing for the old Forest Park Hospital complex. Zoo officials unveiled some initial ideas for the 13 1/2 acre area across Interstate 64, south of the Zoo at an open house Wednesday evening.
Zoo President and CEO Dr. Jeffrey Bonner explains what will be the first order of business once ground is broken. "We see immediate activity. We're going to go in and start renovating that seven story parking garage as quickly as we can. We'll do demolition for the main part of the hospital building as quickly as we can." Bonner went on to say, "The real planning starts now, when we take all of this wonderful input and then develop a strategic plan, what we're going to do for the next five, six or seven years."
Dr. Bonner says they are open and listening to many suggestions regarding the development. "I can see a commercial presence," he said. "I can see not doing it too, but I think it would be more welcoming place if there were certain services that we could provide for our visitors and, for that matter, neighbors and other people nearby."
The start date for renovations has not been determined.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Republican lawmakers are raising new questions about whether Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's administration has tried to comply with the federal Real ID Act.
Senators on Wednesday released a copy of a form letter sent in March 2010 by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to Nixon thanking him for his efforts to comply with Real ID.
Nixon signed a 2009 state law prohibiting Missouri from taking steps intended to comply with the goals of the 2005 federal identity law, which sets stringent requirements for photo identification cards.
Nixon has previously denied that Missouri is trying to implement Real ID. His administration reasserted Wednesday that it's not complying with Real ID and said the letter is meaningless. It distributed similar form letters sent to governors in several other states.