TEXT of Miami City Ordinance - Up for Approval on Thursday!
look below for the actual text of the proposed miami city ordinance!
PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY!
This THURSDAY, SEPT. 25, the Miami City Commission will most likely pass an
ordinance banning the use and possession of a variety of items related to
peaceful protests, demonstrations and protest marches. This includes
puppets and other props; street theater masks; signs on sticks; cameras
(still and video; used to record the actions of overzealous police); padded
clothing (for protection against police truncheons and dogs); bullhorns;
gas masks of any kind, including bandannas (used for protection against
tear-gas and other dangerous chemical agents often used indiscriminately
and recklessly by police), and much more.
The ordinance, which will take effect when passed and expire on Thursday,
Nov. 27, is clearly aimed at stifling the voices of the tens of thousands
of people - students, union members, activists, peasant farmers and many
other types of individuals - from around the Americas and the world who
will be coming to South Florida to protest at the FTAA (Free Trade Area of
the Americas) meeting to be held from Nov. 17-21 in Miami.
This ordinance is an outrageous abridgment of democratic rights and civil
liberties, including the right of free speech, the right to protest and the
right to assemble. The ACLU and protest leaders have pointed out that the
"proposed ordinance ... is so broadly written that it may allow police to
clamp down on constitutionally protected, peaceful protest activities."
(The Miami Daily Business Review, "As Miami plans to prevent disruptions
during trade talks, protest groups warn of First Amendment breaches," Sept.
The undemocratic nature of this ordinance is in keeping with the
undemocratic nature of the FTAA itself. If the treaty creating it,
eventually is ratified by the 34 nations participating in the Miami
meeting, each country's sovereignty and that of its people will be
seriously compromised. Under the rules that would be imposed by the FTAA,
decision-making power on economic, social and cultural policies, as well as
national development plans will be transferred to transnational
corporations and investors located in North America.
It's important that concerned citizens immediately contact Miami city
officials to voice their opposition to this draconian, unconstitutional
measure. Although the ordinance seems destined for approval, these
officials need to know that the eyes of the world are upon them and that
their action will be protested rather than allowed to happen quietly.
Please take a moment to e-mail them, or if you can afford to, call them.
Tell them you're contacting them to express your opposition to this
ordinance which strips away free speech rights - refer to it the parades
and demonstrations ordinance; if they ask what you mean, tell them it's
item J-O3-772 on the Sept. 25 City Commission agenda, which would add
section 6.1 to Chapter 54 of the City of Miami municipal code. Be succint
and polite, but make sure they understand how you feel.
MIAMI CITY OFFICIALS CONTACT INFORMATION
Mayor Manuel A. Diaz:
District 1 Commissioner Angel Gonzalez:
District 2 Commissioner Johnny L. Winton:
District 3 Commissioner Joe M. Sanchez:
District 4 Commissioner Tomas P. Regalado:
District 5 Commissioner Arthur Teele Jr.:
City Manager Joe Arriola:
City Attorney Alejandro Vilarello:
ORDINANCE NO. ___________
AN ORDINANCE OF THE MIAMI CITY COMMISSION, AMENDING CHAPTER 54 OF THE
CODE OF THE CITY OF MIAMI, FLORIDA, AS AMENDED, ENTITLED "STREETS AND
SIDEWALKS" TO ESTABLISH REASONABLE TIME, PLACE AND MANNER REGULATIONS
CONCERNING MATERIALS AND OBJECTS THAT MAY BE POSSESSED, CARRIED OR USED
BY THOSE PARTICIPATING IN PARADES AND DEMONSTRATIONS, AND PROVIDING FOR
SUNSET OF SAID REGULATIONS AT MIDNIGHT ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2003;
MORE PARTICULARLY BY ADDING NEW SECTION 546.1 TO SAID CODE; CONTAINING
A REPEALER PROVISION, A SEVERABILITY CLAUSE, AND PROVIDING FOR AN
IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE.
WHEREAS, the City's current parade regulations, which govern parades,
demonstrations, rallies and assemblies, were enacted more than twenty
years ago; and
WHEREAS, the statutory and judicial laws governing parades,
demonstrations, rallies and assemblies have developed and are
significantly different than law as it existed at the time of
WHEREAS, current technology, communication and materials available have
altered the manner in which such events occur, and the nature and level
of the activity of those participating in such events have changed
significantly since the enactment of the current regulations; and
WHEREAS, in recent years, civil unrest and disturbance have occurred at
events in many cities, accompanied in some instances by significant
personal injuries and property damage, including injuries and damage
caused by the use of various weapons and projectiles including some or
all of those items specified in Section 2 of this Ordinance; and
WHEREAS, courts have recognized the right of jurisdictions to enact
reasonable time, place and manner restrictions related to parades,
demonstrations, rallies and assemblies while not restricting the First
Amendment rights of groups and individuals wishing to express their
views by such demonstrations, rallies and assemblies; and
WHEREAS, the regulations of the City of Los Angeles restricting the
size, nature and shape of sign handles were recently upheld by the
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal. See: Vlasak v. Superior Court, 2003
U.S. App. LEXIS 9230. See also: Edwards v. City of Coeur D'Alene, 262
F.3rd 856 (9th Cir. 2001); Foti v. City of Menlo Park, 146 F.3d 629
(9th Cir. 1998); and
WHEREAS, the City of Miami wishes to ensure the safety and security of
those viewing, attending, or participating in parades and assemblies,
the residents and businesses, and the public officials and employees
responsible for handling or overseeing such events on public property
in the City of Miami to reduce or avoid the possibility of personal
injury and property damage; and
WHEREAS, the City of Miami recognizes the First Amendment rights of
those wishing to express their views, both individually and
collectively, on issues addressed at or in future parades, protests,
demonstrations, rallies; and
WHEREAS, based on information obtained by the City of Miami, it appears
that potential exists for civil disturbance and unrest during certain
upcoming events and it is appropriate for the City Commission to timely
enact regulations to be in effect relating to such events to ensure the
safety and well-being of individuals and property, while ensuring the
First Amendment rights of those wishing to associate and to express
their views, both individually and collectively; and
WHEREAS, it is the purpose and intent of the City of Miami, in
enacting the regulations set forth in Section 2 of this Ordinance, to
establish reasonable time, place and manner restrictions for parades
and assemblies to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals and
property, while at the same time ensuring the First Amendment rights of
those wishing to associate and to express their views, both
individually and collectively; and
WHEREAS, in enacting these regulations, the City is cognizant of recent
court decisions that authorize the enactment of reasonable time, place
and manner restrictions, and the City is also cognizant of its
obligation not to improperly restrict the First Amendment rights of
individuals and groups wishing to associate and to express their First
Amendment views on any and all issues, and to do so in a robust,
vigorous manner; and
WHEREAS, the regulations in Section 2 of this Ordinance restrict only
the types of materials that those participating in parades,
demonstrations, rallies and assemblies may have in their possession,
and do not interfere with their rights of association and expression;
WHEREAS, the materials restricted or prohibited by Section 2 of this
Ordinance have the potential to be used as weapons and to inflict
personal and property damage, or to provide protection by preventing
permitted law enforcement controls related to those participating in
the use of such weapons and the infliction of personal and property
damage, and the materials have been used for this purpose in events in
other jurisdictions; and
WHEREAS, no First Amendment right exists to permit personal and
property damage through use of these materials, and it is therefore,
reasonable and appropriate to restrict possession of such materials as
a prophylactic, reasonable time, place and manner regulation; and
WHEREAS, the City Commission has determined, that in the best interests
of the citizens of the City of Miami, such regulations should sunset at
Midnight on Thursday, November 27, 2003;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF MIAMI,
Section 1. The recitals and findings contained in the Preamble to this
Ordinance are adopted by reference and incorporated as if fully set
forth in this Section.
Section 2. Chapter 54 of the Code of the City of Miami, Florida, as
amended, entitled "Streets and Sidewalks" is amended in the following
STREETS AND SIDEWALKS
ARTICLE I. IN GENERAL
* * * * *
Sec. 54-6.1. Parade and Assembly Prohibitions.
The term "parade" shall mean any march, demonstration, procession,
motorcade, or promenade consisting of persons, animals, or vehicles, or
a combination thereof, having a common purpose, design, destination, or
goal; upon any public place, which parade, march, demonstration,
procession, motorcade, or promenade does not comply with normal and
usual traffic regulations or control.
The term "assembly" shall mean any meeting, demonstration, picket line,
rally, gathering, or group of three (3) or more persons, animals, or
vehicles, or a combination thereof, having a common purpose, design, or
goal, upon any public street, sidewalk, alley, park, or other public
place, which assembly substantially inhibits the usual flow of
pedestrian or vehicular travel or which occupies any public area, other
than a parade, as defined above.
(b) The following prohibitions shall apply to all parades and
(1) It shall be unlawful for any person at any parade or demonstration
to carry or possess any weapon, as defined below. For purposes of this
chapter, and notwithstanding any other provision of this code, "weapon"
means any pistol, rifle, shotgun or other firearm of any kind, whether
loaded or unloaded, air rifle, air pistol, paintball gun, paintball
rifle, explosive, blasting cap(s), knife, hatchet, ax, slingshot,
slungshot, blackjack, metal knuckles, mace, iron buckle, baseball bat,
ax handle, chains, crowbar, hammer, shovel, stick, pole or other club
or bludgeon or any other instrumentality customarily used or intended
for probable use as a dangerous weapon.
2. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry or possess any sign,
poster, plaque or notice unless such sign poster plaque, or notice is
constructed solely of a cloth, paper or cardboard material no greater
than one-quarter inch in thickness.
3. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry or possess any length
of lumber, wood or wood lath unless it is one-fourth inch or less in
thickness and two inches or less in width or if not generally
rectangular in shape, such object shall not exceed three-quarters inch
in its thickest dimension. Both ends of the length of lumber, wood or
wood lath shall be blunt and shall not be pointed.
4. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry or possess any length
of metal, plastic or ot
her similar hard of stiff material, whether hollow or solid; provided
that hollow plastic does not exceed three-quarter (3/4") inch in its
thickest dimension, does not exceed one-eighth inch (1/8") in wall
thickness and is not filled with any material, liquid, gas or solid,
may be used to support a sign, banner, placard or other similar
display; however, both ends of the length of plastic material shall be
blunt, and not pointed.
5. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry or possess glass
bottles, glass jars or glass containers of any kind.
6. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry or possess balloons
filled with any material or substance other than air, oxygen or helium.
Prohibited materials and substances include, but are not limited to,
water, paint, or any other liquid, solid, or other gas.
7. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry or possess solid golf
balls, ball bearings, marbles, paint balls or other solid shapes made
of rubber, plastic, metal, wood or any other similar hard substance,
including batteries; provided that nothing is intended to prohibit the
possession of bicycles, wheelchairs and other similar devices that
include ball bearings or other as part of their structure; and,
provided further, that nothing is intended to prohibit the possession
of electronic, electrical or other devices that are battery-operated.
The purpose of this subsection is to prohibit the possession of
materials or devices that can be thrown or projected and can or may
cause, or have the potential for causing, significant personal or
8. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry or possess bricks,
stones, rocks, pieces of asphalt or concrete or pieces of other similar
hard materials or substances that are capable of being thrown or
9. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry or possess spray paint
10. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry or possess any
projectile launcher or other device which is commonly used for the
purpose of launching, hurling or throwing any object, liquid, material
or other substance, including, but not limited to, supersoakers and
watercannons. Nothing in this subsection is intended to prohibit or
restrict those participating in parades, demonstrations, rallies or
assemblies from possessing sufficient amount of water or other liquids
designed and intended for human consumption during such events.
11. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, possess or wear any
gas mask or similar device designed to filter all air breathed and that
would protect the respiratory tract and face against irritating,
noxious or poisonous gases.
12. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, possess or wear a
bulletproof vest as that term is defined in Sec. 775.0846 Fla. Stat.
(2003), or other improvised body armor. Improvised body armor is gear
or attire worn for the purpose of enabling the wearer to engage or
attempt to engage in unlawful activity.
13. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry or possess any
Sleeping Dragon Device, with the intent to use the device to deny or
obstruct the public's ability to freely move about on roadways,
sidewalks, or into or out of buildings. For purposes of this
subsection, a Sleeping Dragon Device shall mean a section of pipe, or a
container, filled with weighted material, handcuffs, chains, carabiners
or other locking devices utilized for the purpose of locking a person
or persons to another person or persons or other objects.
Nothing in this section shall prohibit a disabled person from carrying,
possessing or using a wheelchair, cane, walker, or similar device
necessary for providing mobility so that the person may participate in
Nothing in this section is intended to authorize the possession or use
of materials, weapons or devices that are otherwise prohibited by any
other local, state or federal ordinance, statute or regulation. The
purpose of this section is to prohibit the carrying or possession of
items and materials that have the potential to be used as weapons to
cause physical or personal damage, and whose possession might not
otherwise be prohibited by local, state or federal law.
* * * * *"
Section 3. All ordinances or parts of ordinances insofar as they are
inconsistent or in conflict with the provisions of this Ordinance are
Section 4. If any section, part of section, paragraph, clause, phrase
or word of this Ordinance is declared invalid, the remaining provisions
of this Ordinance shall not be affected.
Section 5. The provisions of this Ordinance shall sunset at Midnight on
Thursday, November 27, 2003.
Section 6. This Ordinance shall become effective IMMEDIATELY after
final reading and adoption thereof./
PASSED ON FIRST READING BY TITLE ONLY this _______ day of
PASSED AND ADOPTED ON SECOND AND FINAL READING BY TITLE ONLY this
________ day of _________________, 2003.
MANUEL A. DIAZ, MAYOR
PRISCILLA A. THOMPSON
APPROVED AS TO FORM AND CORRECTNESS:
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