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Lawsuit Filed Against Rolla Public Library by ACLU, Cites Violation of Free Speech and Due Process

American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri

The ACLU of Missouri filed a federal lawsuit against the Rolla Public Library on Tuesday. 

According to the ACLU, Randy Johnson attempted to reserve a room at the Rolla Public Library in January. He was planning to teach volunteers how to collect signatures in support of a ballot proposition to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

The lawsuit states that when the library’s director found out the purpose of the meeting, Johnson was denied use of a room.

Jeffrey Mittman, the executive director of the ACLU of Missouri, said the library violated Johnson’s constitutional rights of free speech and due process.  

"Based on this improper decision by the library, we are suing to ensure that going forward - in the future - that individuals who want access to this limited public forum, that is the library, knows that the government actor - the librarian - will not decide whether or not they can participate based on their viewpoints," Mittman said. 

The Rolla Public Library has not responded to requests for comment at this time.  

Rebecca Smith is a reporter and producer for the KBIA Health & Wealth desk. She was born and raised in Rolla, Missouri, and graduated with degrees in Journalism and Chemistry from Truman State University in May 2014. Rebecca comes to KBIA from St. Louis Public Radio, where she worked as the news intern and covered religion, neighborhood growth and the continued unrest in Ferguson, MO.