Judge denies assembly member’s request for expedited hearing in complaint against borough

Editor’s note: Following the March 16 court hearing, Assembly member Willy Dunne submitted his opinion piece to the Homer News. That opinion piece can be read at http://homernews.com/homer-opinion/2017-03-17/eliminating-invocation-right-thing-do

An Alaska Superior Court judge has denied a Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member’s request for an expedited hearing to block the borough from blocking him from publishing an opinion piece in the media.

Assembly member Willy Dunne of Homer filed a civil complaint in Kenai Superior Court on March 9 after Kenai Peninsula Borough Attorney Colette Thompson told him the borough and the legal contractor representing the borough in an ongoing lawsuit over the assembly’s invocation policy, the Alliance Defending Freedom, did not approve of the content of an op-ed he wanted to publish. Part of the contract the Alliance Defending Freedom drew up with the borough is that the organization wants to see and approve any public statements related to the subject matter of the case.

Dunne sponsored an ordinance that would remove the invocation altogether, which will come up for public hearing at the March 21 assembly meeting. The op-ed he wrote outlines his opinion about it, according to the complaint.

However, before the complaint’s first hearing in Kenai court took place Thursday, the borough filed an affidavit saying Thompson did not say Dunne couldn’t publish his opinion piece, that he had always been free to publish it and that there was no reason for an expedited hearing.

For more, read the full story here:

http://peninsulaclarion.com/news/local/2017-03-16/judge-denies-assembly-member-s-request-expedited-hearing-complaint-against

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

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