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Wisconsin Charges for Free Speech

Written By: Wendy McElroy  |  Posted: Friday, January 6th, 2012

          Despite a proclaimed opposition to new taxes, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has advanced a policy that amounts to a new and draconian tax. People will have to pay the state for the "privilege" of free speech and assembly. To exercise those rights in or outside state facilities will entail permits at least seventy-two hours in advance and potentially prohibitive fees. The policy took effect on December 8 and is expected to be completely phased in by December 16.

          State permission for various types of protest has long been required in the form of permits; in recent years, some locales have further limited freedom of speech by restricting it to "designated areas." But Walker's measure goes a leap or so beyond the standard government policies on protests.

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