Napoleon, Carrie. 2020. Gary city hall cellphone ban is quickly reversed. Chicago Tribune, Nov 20, 2020. (accessed November 26, 2020).
A social media post and signs banning the use of cellphones in Gary City Hall have been removed and will not be enforced, according to officials.
He (Godwin) said the post appeared to be in response to a video made by a citizen seeking public records. The video did not portray the city in a positive light and the individual was disruptive while the video was being made.
The mayor said he understands smartphones and similar technology are very much a part of everyday life and he would not impede on someone’s right to use that technology to observe or record city government.
The Office of the Indiana Public Access Counselor has issued a prior opinion on a similar rule preventing the use of cellphones and tablets within government buildings. The complaint was filed against the Cass County Board of Commissioners in 2018 when commissioners sought to prevent citizens from bringing their cellphones and tablets into government buildings.
Luke Britt, public access counselor, found in his opinion while he could sympathize with the potential disruption to business cellphone use could cause, preventing citizens from using their cellphones to record in a public building would violate the state’s open door laws.
You can read the full article here: https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/ct-ptb-gary-cellphone-rules-st-1121-20201119-if3ij3udljdldntuf3lvuk5usu-story.html
You can read the full PAC opinion referenced in the article here: https://www.in.gov/pac/advisory/files/18-FC-4.pdf
[Editor’s Note: The PAC Opinion is worth a read.]