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Federal judge rejects attempt to halt anti-litter ordinance

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A federal judge has refused to grant a preliminary injunction filed by Kentucky's largest daily newspaper to block an anti-litter…

A federal judge has refused to grant a preliminary injunction filed by Kentucky’s largest daily newspaper to block an anti-litter ordinance that restricts how advertising materials can be delivered to households.

The (Louisville) Courier-Journal argued that the city ordinance, which requires unsolicited materials be put in designated areas and not thrown in driveways or yards, was a violation of the First Amendment. Judge Charles R. Simpson III wrote in his opinion that the litter restrictions could create a financial challenge for the newspaper, but did not violate any constitutional guarantees.

The ordinance prohibits unsolicited material form being left in driveways or front yards and requires it to be left in a designated area, such as attached to a resident’s front door, placed in a mail slot or left with someone personally. A fine of $100 to $200 is imposed for each violation.

Because The Courier-Journal distributes roughly 340,000 advertising supplements each week, the newspaper’s attorneys pointed out the new ordinance could generate $68 million in fines for the paper during a single week.

Courier-Journal Publisher and President Arnold Garson emphasized the broader implications of the ordinance to The Associated Press.

It’s also "an issue for . . . political candidates or anybody who would seek to provide information on a printed basis to the community at large. The ordinance, as written, leaves no efficient, effective way to do that."