Mayor Butch Berry added a last-minute agenda item for Monday’s city council meeting to approve a political sign ordinance that removes time restraints of exhibited political campaign signs. Alderman Mickey Schneider was immediately opposed saying that in the old days, council would have fought this.
“We’ve got to be able to do something because this sucks,” she said.
The original Municipal Code subsection 7.52.14 forbids exhibiting political campaign signs for more than 30 days before an election, but recent activity in certain federal courts have found those provisions in other municipalities unconstitutional, therefore the Arkansas Municipal League recommended Eureka Springs adopt this ordinance for compliance.
“It’s a free speech issue,” alderman Harry Meyer explained, and City Attorney Tim Weaver provided further explanation describing that commercial speech can be limited, but political speech cannot be limited. Council read and approved Ord. 2299 three times, invoking the emergency clause. Schneider was opposed for each vote and stated, “I still think we should fight this one.”