What’s making news in Minneapolis, reported by the Star Tribune’s team of city reporters. Send news tips to baird.helgeson@startribune.com.

ACLU drops suit against Minneapolis over "Clean Zone" restrictions

Posted by: Matt McKinney Updated: June 4, 2014 - 6:54 PM

The American Civil Liberties Union dropped a civil lawsuit Wednesday against the city of Minneapolis after the city council changed a motion they wrote last month that put restrictions on licenses and permts in Minneapolis in the days leading up to the Major League Baseball All-Star game.

The restrictions target temporary vending, parades and inflatable devices, but the motion said no license or permit would be granted without the approval of the MLB. The restrictions were originally set to run from July 5 to July 20 and cover portions of downtown, northeast Minneapolis and the University area.

The organizers of a street festival meant to honor the anniversary of the 1934 Teamsters strikes argued that it was unconstitutional for the city council to grant the MLB control over the permits and licenses needed for events like theirs. 

The ACLU filed suit May 8 on behalf of the street festival, and one day later the city council agreed, rewriting their motion to say that constitutional concerns will pre-empt all others, that the city will retain full control of all decisions on licenses and permits and that the restrictions will run for six days rather than the originally scheduled 15. 

"We are pleased that the City reacted quickly to address the constitutional concerns that we had about the Clean Zone," wrote Charles Samuelson, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the ACLU, in a statement released Wednesday. "Our First Amendment rights should not held hostage by private corporations, and we are glad that the City of Minneapolis recognized that and made the appropriate changes to the resolution."

The city has also granted a permit to the street festival organizers.

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