On April 4, 2019, the ACLU of Kansas sued officials of the Kansas Statehouse on behalf of three Kansas State University Students detained the week before for unfurling a banner in the Capitol rotunda.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, names Duane Goossen in his capacity as administrative secretary of administration, Tom Day in his capacity as administrative services director, and Sherman Jones, superintendent of the Highway Patrol and seeks an injunction preventing the defendants from enforcing what they consider these flawed policies.

The lawsuit stems from an incident late last month when Capitol Police banned the three students, Jonathan Cole, Katie Sullivan, and Nathan Faflick, for a year after the students briefly hung a banner favoring Medicaid expansion from the fifth-floor rotunda.
 
The banner took aim at Republican legislative leaders opposing Medicaid expansion and read that they had “blood on their hands.”
 
Officials removed the banner within minutes and then imposed a yearlong ban because the students’ failed to obtain permission to hand the sign in advance. The students were told that they faced a criminal trespassing citation if they returned within a year.
 

Current policies and practices at the capitol include a blanket prohibition on silently displaying signs and a requirement for sponsorship by an elected official approval before assembly or protest, constituting "an unnecessary and impermissible prior restraint on political expression at the core of First Amendment protection.” The rules are vague and overbroad, permitting Capitol Police to impose indefinite bans on members of the public at their discretion, which invites arbitrary enforcement by individual police and violates the Fourteenth Amendment right to due process. Additionally, the unnecessary detention of members of the public, such as our clients, creates a chilling effect on their political advocacy. 

The ACLU of Kansas asks the court for declaratory and injunctive relief declaring the statehouse policies and actions unconstitutional under the First and Fourteenth Amendments and preventing statehouse officials from enforcing the policies in question.

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