County ordinance limits speechSubmitted by olafub on Tue, 11/13/2012 - 02:05
The Vernon County, Wisconsin Board has enacted a law limiting speech.
“Whoever sends information to another person by electronic means with the intent to annoy, offend, demean, ridicule, degrade, belittle, disparage or humiliate any person and which serves no legitimate purpose shall be required to forfeit not less than $50.00 nor more than $500 together with the cost of prosecution and in default of payment shall be sentenced to the County Jail until such forfeiture and costs are paid, not exceeding 30 days.”" — Vernon County Ordinance 11/8/12
"Wisconsin county bans cyber bullying"
"How Annoying & Demeaning: Vernon County Board Mugs Free Speech"
The County Board Chairman mentioned in the first article is a Democrat and the County Sheriff mentioned in the second article is a Republican. The author and Board Member who wrote the second article and voted against this ordinance is a Democrat.
"A proposed ordinance containing similar language was rejected by the Fort Atkinson City Council in June.
Stacy Harbaugh, spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, said Friday she was not aware of any other Wisconsin municipalities that have passed such ordinances, but said she has seen similar language proposed for schools. She said her group is concerned that the Vernon County ordinance “is too broad and could be abused in its application.”
Harbaugh stressed that there is a difference that needs to be respected between “fighting words and free speech, between making threats and expressing an opinion, no matter how obnoxious it may be. ”http://www.wisconsinwatch.org/2012/11/09/vernon-county-bans-e-bullying/