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Judges Limit New California Laws to Protect Vaccination Sites | Nationwide

Sacramento, CA (AP) — A federal judge has abandoned California’s new 30-foot buffer zone designed to limit protests at the corona virus vaccination site, but his decision frees speech. A speech that left the rest of the new state law intact, despite the argument that it was infringing.

A law that came into force on October 8 makes it illegal to come within 30 feet (9.14 meters) of someone to the vaccination site “for the purpose of obstructing, injuring, harassing, threatening, or interfering with the person.” increase.

Judge Dale Drozd of the US District Court ruled on Saturday that the 30-foot limit contained in what he called the “unusual definition of” harassment “” in the law was too restrictive.

So he issued a temporary restraint order prohibiting the state from enforcing the “harassment” part of the law, while leaving the ban on obstruction, injury, intimidation, or interference intact.

Other parts of the law “seem to further increase state interest in more accurately targeting the harm the state legislature tried to prevent and giving Californians free access to vaccination sites.” He ruled.

Opponent said invoice It is so widely written that it includes all vaccines and can be applied to protesters against abortion.

Alliance Defending Freedom filed proceedings on behalf of Right to life Of central California. It is next to the Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinic, which offers an HPV vaccine against the human papillomavirus but not a vaccine against COVID-19.

Anti-abortion groups said the law, as written, prohibits its members from approaching women on public sidewalks and streets outside their buildings, and even in their parking lots.

The ruling came on Monday when the US Supreme Court happened to consider whether to allow a legal challenge to Texas law, which virtually ended abortion in the second largest state in the United States six weeks after pregnancy. Was done.

The problem with California, the most populous state, lies in the definition of legal harassment. This is “much broader than the dictionary definition of the word” harassment “,” Drozd said in a 28-page decision.

This includes “no consent within 30 feet of a person or vehicle for the purpose of handing out leaflets or leaflets, displaying signs, or conducting verbal protests, education, or public counseling with others. Includes approaching at the road or sidewalk area. “

In addition, the state attorney’s interpretation of the law is “ambiguous enough to encourage different and contradictory interpretations of acts prohibited by its terms,” ​​in court submissions and oral arguments, Drozd wrote.

The law-defending Attorney General of California, Rob Bonta’s office, did not immediately respond to the ruling.

“Access to the COVID-19 vaccine is essential to’stop the spread of COVID-19′, and the state’s interest in making it accessible to citizens is compelling. There is no doubt about it, “writes Dozd. He said it’s unclear if that applies to all vaccines.

“Despite these undeniable facts, the court has admitted that the COVID-19 vaccine is the subject of controversy and protest,” he wrote.

Nevertheless, the group states that the law violates the First Amendment’s right to speech, religion, and freedom of association, and the Fourteenth Amendment’s right to oppose abortion for due process and equal protection. Stated.

Violators can be sentenced to up to 6 months in prison and up to $ 1,000 in fines. However, legislators included an exemption from picketing during labor disputes, which caused another legal dispute, Drozd said.

“Freedom of speech has won not only for our client, the right to life, but for all other speakers in California,” said Dennis Haar, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, in a statement. increase. In limiting the outreach of the right to life while allowing other types of speech. “

Democratic Senator Richard Pan, a pediatrician, prominent vaccination advocate, and bill author, did not comment immediately.

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.



Judges Limit New California Laws to Protect Vaccination Sites | Nationwide

Source link Judges Limit New California Laws to Protect Vaccination Sites | Nationwide

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