For immediate release:
July 20, 2020
CONTACT: Mark McCormick, Director of Strategic Communications, 913-490-4113, [email protected]
OVERLAND PARK, KS
The ACLU of Kansas has resolved a lawsuit filed last year on behalf of three Kansas State University students detained for unfurling a banner in the Capitol rotunda.
“Our clients got essentially everything they’d sought through the lawsuit,” said Lauren Bonds, legal director for the ACLU of Kansas. “We are happy with the outcome and we are happy that Kansans can fully exercise their right to protest in the people’s house.”
Under the terms of the dismissal, individuals or groups no longer need a permit or a legislative “sponsor” to reserve space, hand-held signs are no longer banned, and the Kansas Highway Patrol can no longer ban an individual from the Statehouse for a rules violation (bans can only be imposed if a person breaks the law).
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, named Duane Goossen in his capacity as administrative secretary of administration, Tom Day in his capacity as administrative services director, and Herman Jones, superintendent of the Highway Patrol.
The lawsuit stems from a 2019 incident when Capitol Police banned three Kansas State University students, Jonathan Cole, Katie Sullivan, and Nathaniel 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 who opposed Medicaid expansion and read that they had “blood on their hands.”
Officials removed the banner within minutes and then imposed a year-long ban on the students because they had not obtained permission to hang the sign in advance. The students also were told that they faced a criminal trespassing citation if they returned within a year.
A full listing of the terms:
Cole v. Goossen, 5:19-04028: Policy Changes Giving Rise to Voluntary Dismissal
The State has rescinded “The Policy for Usage of the Statehouse Capitol and Complex” and prior application form, adopting the Capitol Complex Events Application in their place. The Capitol Events Application is available at: (https://admin.ks.gov/offices/ofpm/capitol-complex-events-application)
- Permit is no longer required to hold a protest or event, only required to reserve specific space.
Old Rule: Administrative Regulations K.A.R. 1-49-10—“no person shall conduct any meeting, demonstration, or solicitation without the prior permission of the Secretary of Administration or the secretary’s designees”
New Rule: Complex Application— “This Application is NOT required for any person or group that merely wishes to come to the Statehouse, and not reserve a specific space.”
- No longer need a legislative sponsor to reserve space.
Old Rule: Usage Policy 3 (i)(ii)—“Application must have a legislative sponsor for activities held inside the Capitol and outside on the grounds.”
New Rule: No new rule, no longer condition on application.
- Removed 10-day application approval requirement.
Old Rule: Usage Policy 2(a)(i)-- Applications to request an event in areas controlled by OFPM must be submitted to and received by the Event Coordinator no later than ten (10) work days prior to the date of the requested activity.
New Rule: No new rule, no longer condition on application
- Handheld signs no longer banned.
Old Rule: Usage Policy 3 (h)(xxii)—“ No person will be allowed to bring personal signage to any building in the Capitol Complex. Security is authorized to confiscate signs”
New Rule: Complex Application— “Banners, signs, exhibits or other materials are allowed, but cannot be taped, tacked, nailed or hung on any surface within the Capitol Complex.”
- KHP can no longer ban an individual from the Statehouse for a rule violation. Bans can only be imposed if a person breaks the law.
Old Policy: Administrative Regulations, K.A.R. 1-49-9, “any person violating any of these regulations may be expelled and ejected.”
New Policy: Lt. Hatcher Preliminary Injunction Hearing Testimony
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About the ACLU of Kansas: The ACLU of Kansas is the statewide affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU of Kansas is dedicated to preserving and advancing the civil rights and legal freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For more information, visit our website at www.aclukansas.org.