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Ban on All Free Printed Materials Tossed on Driveways Unconstitutional
Description Georgia high court struck down a city ordinance prohibiting the distribution of free printed matter in front of homes as an unconstitutional restriction on free speech. The rationale, to reduce litter, is fine, but the restriction is too sweeping to stand.
Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words Freedom of Speech, Free Flyers
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts To help reduce litter, the City of Sylvania enacted an ordinance prohibiting the distribution of free printed material in yards, driveways and porches. A publisher of the "Penny-Saver," a free weekly shopper newspaper thrown in yards and driveways, challenged the constitutionality of the ordinance. The trial court upheld the ordinance; the publisher appealed.
Decision Reversed. "Because the ordinance challenged in this case regulates political, religious, and personal speech, we interpret our state constitution to require the city to narrowly draw its regulations to suppress no more speech than is necessary to achieve the city's goals." While the control of litter is a reasonable goal by the city, this restriction on home delivery of printed materials is too broad to withstand constitutional tests.
Citation Statesboro Publishing Co. v. City of Sylvania, - S.E.2d - (1999 WL 304124, Sup. Ct., Ga.)

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