By: E&P Staff
North Carolina newspaper hawkers would be protected from local restrictions under a bill approved by a House committee Wednesday.
“It protects the people’s right to know and read all those wonderful things you read in the newspaper every day,” the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Walter Dalton, said, according to an account in the Times-News of Burlington, N.C., by Barry Smith.
Burlington is an example of a municipality that effectively banned hawkers of the Times-News Sunday papers with a local ordinance. The newspaper sued in federal court, arguing the ban was an infringement of its First Amendment rights. It failed to win a temporary injunction against the law, which the city argued was carefully written to protect public safety.
Dalton’s bill would prohibit local governments from passing or enforcing laws that prohibit the distribution of newspapers from “non-traveled portion of any street or highway,” so long as the hawkers are not impeding traffic, the Times-News account said.