Demonstrators will get slightly more leeway to make their case in public parks in the Washington, DC area. The National Park Service (NPS) announced on Thursday, March 7 that it is changing the rules for demonstrations and special events in the National Capital Region. You can read the new rules at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-03-07/html/2013-05249.htm.
The new final rules take effect April 8.
NPS proposed changing the rules two years ago.
The agency is changing its rulings in light of a court decision that said previous regulations gave it too much power to determine who gets a permit, in violation of the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech.
And the new rules drop the ban on soliciting money in parks, as another court decision also ruled that unconstitutional. The new rules do, however, require a permit for soliciting funds.
And the new rules include a ban on demonstrations and special events in certain memorial areas.
NPS only changed one item from its proposal, regarding the need for permits to raise cash as part of a demonstration.