ACLU, Maui County settle sign-waving lawsuit - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

ACLU, Maui County settle sign-waving lawsuit

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It's being hailed as a huge victory for free speech rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union today announced that it settled a lawsuit against Maui County over rules prohibiting signs along public roadways.

In the deal, Maui agreed to modify rules barring sign-waving within 50 feet of a traffic signal, 20 feet of a crosswalk or six feet of any roadway.

"In my opinion, it's very important because a lot of times the only way you can get your idea across is by getting your sign and holding it out there so people can see it," said Maui Peace Action activist Chuck Carletta, who was represented by the ACLU.

"It's good to challenge the county or government if they try to do something that goes over the top."

Carletta said the county threatened to enforce the ordinance against marchers who took part in annual Martin Luther King Day celebrations in January.

But he added that said county police violate the same laws by holding their own public awareness, sign-waving campaigns.

"The way they had written the ordinance, it was obvious that many signs that are permanently put up in the Wailuku area where this (march) was held, are in violation, including the police themselves when they hold signs," he said.

Maui County Spokesman Rod Antone said details on how the county plans to change its rules still need to be worked out by the County Council.

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