A Mt. Juliet challenger for State House Dist. 57 announced late Friday night she intended to sue the City of Mt. Juliet for allegedly removing her campaign signs.
In an email from her campaign, Dist. 57 candidate Trisha Farmer said she notified the city of her intent to file suit against the city on next week for violating her freedom of speech.
According to Farmer's campaign, the city notified her they removed multiple yard signs promoting the candidate to enforce their temporary sign ordinance, which states political signs are not permitted until 60 days prior to an election and must be removed within 3 days after an election.
"When your own city violates your constitutional rights, then uses your own tax dollars to defend their unconstitutional actions, it may be cause for frustration," Farmer stated. "As someone who believes in smart governance and fiscal responsibility, it is a foolish mistake to use tax payer dollars to fight against the constitutionally-protected free speech of the people of Mt. Juliet, especially when we know they will lose.
"There are several other court cases with established precedence across our country, so it makes no sense why our city officials would use our tax dollars to enforce (and then defend in court) an unconstitutional law. Further, confiscating signs, which qualify as personal property, could be argued as theft. " Farmer said.
Farmer's campaign has cited a US Supreme Court case in which temporary sign ordinances were struck down because they are a violation of freedom of speech. They also cited a Federal District Court case in Maryland which invalidated a sign ordinance in Curry v. Prince Georges County, which limited residents to 45 days before and 10 days after the election, which even referenced the U.S Supreme Court case saying there is no distinction between the political campaigns and a cause sign cause signs in the City of Ladue.
"When you run for office, you start to meet a lot of people and I've met some great people, one of whom is a staffer with the Donald Trump campaign, who says they've had problems with the codes department removing signs from yards. I've also had several of my own signs removed, and several supporters have been threatened with fines from the city because of this ordinance," Farmer stated.
"I've said before and I will say it again: I believe that the State Representative should represent everyone in their district, not just those who have the same ideology. Our constitutionallyiprotected rights (even as silly as it seems, to have our signs in our yards) should be protected by our own government. Further, it is in poor taste to threaten citizens with fines when they are enforcing an unconstitutional law. There are so many other things that our city could use funding for and paying for court costs and attorneys fees to defend an unconstitutional law, is irresponsible with tax payer money."
Farmer encouraged anyone that has been harassed by anyone about a lawn sign to contact the Farmer for State House campaign at Trisha@TrishaFarmer.com and you will be included in the suit.