Fung Says Cranston Can Still “Make its Argument ” in Legal Battle Over Anti-Panhandling Ordinance
Friday, August 04, 2017
Fung said that he believes the city still has the opportunity to present its legal argument in support of the the ordinance, while the ACLU continues to challenge it.
“The Court finds that the public has a significant interest in local policies that do not infringe individual First Amendment rights, and will not be harmed by the issuance of this temporary restraining order pending a final determination about whether the Ordinance is, in fact, a violation of the First Amendment,” said Judge Smith.
The order will remain in effect pending a future trial on the ACLU of Rhode Island’s challenge to the ordinance.
“The courts have found that similar ordinances violate the First Amendment, and today’s ruling suggests that this ordinance is no different. It’s unfortunate that municipalities – Cranston in particular – continue to spend valuable tax dollars on efforts that undermine our constitutionally-protected rights and make the lives of the poor more difficult,” said Steven Brown, ACLU of RI executive director.
The ordinance bars any person from entering a roadway “for the purpose of distributing anything to the occupant of any vehicle or for the purpose of receiving anything from the occupant of any vehicle.”
The suit, filed by ACLU of RI volunteer attorney Lynette Labinger, argues that the ordinance, enacted in February 2017 by a 5-4 vote of the City Council, violates the First Amendment right of individuals to solicit donations and to distribute literature on Cranston roadways.
Plaintiffs in the suit include the Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project; two Cranston residents – Karen Rosenberg and Deborah Flitman – who are members of the Cranston Action Network and would like to engage in leafleting from traffic islands, but are barred from doing so under the ordinance; and Francis White, Jr., a disabled and formerly homeless resident of Providence, who often has insufficient income to last to the end of the month and relies upon panhandling for additional support.
Related Slideshow: RI State House Power Shift - 10 Most Powerful - 2017
House Finance Chair
Came into office under the most difficult conditions - the flameout and criminal demise of former chair Ray Gallison.
Abney is a work in progress, but the position itself carries with it the second most powerful gavel in the building (Speaker's gavel ranks first).
More than two decades after leaving the Senate, Goldberg is still a power broker in the Senate. The game may have changed a bit and the fastball may not have exactly the same heat, but he remains one of the most powerful as a result of who his clients are, his institutional knowledge, and connections.
While others have fallen out of favor over time, Goldberg remains the most influential lobbyist.
Chief of Staff to Gina Raimondo
Smiley joined the Governor to bring a more local flavor to the Governor's office. He has brought that, but also stumbled on with late night tweets and business relationships.
Rumors continue to swirl that he wants to run for Mayor of Providence again, but time is ticking.
It is hard to know how Ruggerio will lead the Senate. He was the perfect counter-balance to former Teresa Paiva Weed's leadership style. Will he be the pro-labor force that some business interests fear?
Or, will Ruggerio surprise everyone and become a force in changing the fate of Rhode Island's last place business ranking?
Chief of Staff to the Speaker of the House
He has played the game at every level in RI politics. His efforts to help Speaker Nick Mattiello through the Ray Gallison and John Carnevale disasters stabilized the House.
He is the loyal, behind-the-scenes staffer that all elected officials appreciate.
Skenyon, a former top aide to Governor Bruce Sundlun and U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell, and once most recently been the Traffic Tribunal Clerk. He is the former Chief of Staff to then-Senate Majority leader Jack Revens in the 1980s.
Governor of Rhode Island
While gearing up for her re-election her strongest legislative ally quits. The departure of Teresa Paiva Weed as President of the Senate is a big blow to Raimondo's legislative agenda.
Can she afford to continue to brawl with Speaker Nick Mattiello?
House Majority Leader
He was once considered to be Governor Gina Raimondo's biggest cheerleader in the House, but since taking the #2 slot in the House he has shifted to be a House power broker.
He sits on a campaign war chest that is unmatched in the legislature.
As Russ Moore wrote, "Shekarchi has an almost super-human knack and talent for making it seem like he agrees with everyone--even with people who possess drastically different political ideologies, at the exact same time. He employed ultra-progressive Warwick City Councilman-elect Jeremy Rix at his law office. Yet the business-friendly Democrats will also tell you that Shekarchi sees things the way they do as well. We've got to hand it to him--he's as smooth as a summer lake at dawn."
Speaker of the House
Today, he dominates RI politics. His agenda -- eliminating the car tax -- is the #1 legislative issue. He has bet his future and long-term legacy on this initiative. While Mattiello won a very narrow re-election by the narrowest of margins, he continues to lead the House with a strong hand.
His battles with Governor Gina Raimondo are epic. And, it will be interesting to see if there is an cooling in the Mattiello-Raimondo feud. Will the car tax plan pass as Mattiello has crafted? Will Raimondo's college program pass? And, who will Senate President Ruggerio side with on the big issues -- Raimondo or Mattiello?