Rome City Commission approves assembly permit ordinance

Tuesday, June 10, 2024–8:42 p.m.

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

The Rome City Commission has approved a revamped assembly permit ordinance.

The ordinance differs from the one that was tabled in April by adding a “non-expressive events” category that would be exempt certain activities from the permit requirement for gatherings or 25 or more.

Those activities include recreation, family gatherings, games, arts and crafts, reunions, Birthday parties, government agency events within the scope of their government function, spectator sports, grilling, barbecues, picnics, park or trail cleanups, and training activities such as team building events.

“This ordinance as we drafted it meets constitutional muster,” said Rome City Attorney Andy Davis.  “We addressed all the matters in the case law that we had  found that we thought has challenged and we cleaned up those matters.”

Jamie Doss was the only commissioner to vote ‘no.’

“I feel like this or that needs to be further tweaked,” he said. “I think it’s an improvement but I prefer voting on an ordinance that’s just right and so for that reason, I’ll probably vote no.”

Commissioner Elaina Beeman voted ‘yes.’

“We could always go back and tweet like the attorney recommended,” she said. “If we keep putting this off, things will stay where they are right now, where no one can do anything and have a good time.”

The ordinance only applies to events held on public property, and the 25 or more requirement for assemblies such as protests or demonstrations would still apply. The ordinance also addresses counter-protests to make sure it reflects existing case law. Essentially, you can be a counter-protester and express your opinion, but you cannot interfere with the permitted event.

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