ACLU of Alaska Investigates State’s Unconstitutional Censoring of Juneau Pro-Life Protest
Requests Governor and Department of Administration Records About Vehicles Blocking Protesters
April 10, 2013
Anchorage, Alaska - The ACLU of Alaska Foundation asked the Governor’s Office and the Alaska Department of Administration this week to share the public records of how, for 45 minutes on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, official vehicles from the Department of Administration blocked a peaceful pro-life protest outside the Capitol in Juneau.
“The First Amendment comes first for a reason: we will vigorously defend the right of all activists to peacefully protest and present their views,” said Jeffrey Mittman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Alaska. He continued, “While we support a woman’s constitutional right to reproductive choice, everyone has the right to peacefully protest and the government may not pick and choose who gets to speak. We are happy that Governor Parnell said this censorship was ‘totally inappropriate,’ and we agree, but we still need to know how and why the Department of Administration thought that it was okay to park its vehicles in front of these peaceful protestors. Today’s public records request is the first step to ensure this will not happen again.”
The ACLU of Alaska asked not only for the “who, what, where, when, and why,” but also for the policies that led the Department of Administration to block these protestors. “We want to know why some state employees thought this was the right thing to do,” said Joshua A. Decker, the ACLU of Alaska attorney who sent today’s request, “and we want to make sure that the State is writing new procedures to make sure this is the last time Alaska blocks free, peaceful speech.”
Under Alaska law, the Governor’s Office and the Department of Administration normally have 10 working days to respond to public records requests such as the ACLU’s. They must also turn over copies of all public records, unless those records are legally privileged or subject to one of the narrow exceptions to the Alaska Public Records Act.
“Alaska’s Public Records Act allows all Alaskans to find out public information from their government. It is how we ensure that our elected and appointed officials are carrying out the people’s business and protecting our rights,” Decker concluded. “We look forward to promptly receiving these records from the State.”
Source of News:
ACLU of Alaska
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