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Elizabeth Pagano is the editor of the Austin Monitor.
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Monday, March 12, 2018 by Elizabeth Pagano
As the Monitor has reported, there are various questions yet to be answered about the petition drive to put CodeNEXT on the ballot. Apparently, one of the questions raised by the process might soon have an answer. Recently, petitioners questioned whether they had the right to solicit signatures on the grounds of the Central Library. In response to that question, on March 9, attorney Bill Aleshire received an email written by City Attorney Anne Morgan on behalf of the city manager and library director. That email stated that criminal trespass notices issued to petitioners would be rescinded and, at the March 26 meeting of the Library Commission, an item to reconsider the Library Use Rules will be on the agenda. “Thank you for your patience as the City has worked through questions raised by you and your clients about the Library’s designation of its property as a nonpublic forum. We appreciate that there are differing views about the appropriate use of library grounds for petitioning and other First Amendment purposes,” read the email. “During the interim period preceding the Library Commission meeting, the Austin Public Library will allow petitioners to solicit signatures on library grounds in a manner that is not disruptive of library services to its customers, or to the library services provided by library staff. Specifically, the City will allow petitioners to solicit signatures on the library grounds in a manner that is not disruptive of the normal use of library services or property by library staff or other customers or in violation of Library Use Rules.”
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