Ed Herbert and Dennis Nusbaum are public school teachers fined by the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) for using school facilities for political?? ?purposes?? ?in?? ?violation?? ?of?? ?RCW 42.17.130. The teachers alleged that as applied the statute violated their First Amendment free speech rights and is arbitrary, capricious, and overbroad. As union representatives, they placed blank petitions for ballot measures in teachers? school mailboxes and sent an e-mail to school staff about collecting the petitions. The court affirmed concluding that the school internal mail and computer system are nonpublic forums and the regulation prohibiting their use for political purposes is reasonable in light of their purpose ? efficient communication among teachers — and is viewpoint-neutral in that it prohibits use for all political purposes. That teachers can exchange their political views in other forums in the school (like the cafeteria) does not make the regulation arbitrary because it prohibits only the using of school?? resources?? to?? do?? so.?? Likewise,?? the regulation is not overbroad just because it prevents using the forum to communicate non- political speech accompanying political speech. Herbert v. WA State Public Disclosure Comm?n, (12/18/06, Coleman, Agid, Baker).
Regulation Prohibiting Employee Use of Public Resources for Political Purposes is Constitutional
Dec 18, 2006