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Idaho Judge Changes Rules for Protesting at Capitol

Benito Baeza

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federal judge rejected some rules governing protests on state property surrounding the Capitol in Boise, concluding a seven-day limit on rallies as well as possible restriction-waivers for some groups but not others failed to pass free-speech muster.

The “Occupy Boise” protests that prompted this two-year-old litigation vacated the old Ada County Courthouse’s grounds last spring. Late Friday, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill’s latest decision further clarified how activists can — and can’t — use the Capitol Mall properties.

Though Winmill’s 39-page ruling makes it clear he believes Idaho lawmakers went too far in some areas, he also upheld other limits. Those include prohibitions on activists’ use of chalk and provisions giving Idaho officials discretion over whether to allow some groups to tap into the state’s taxpayer-funded electrical outlets.

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