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Iberville Parish set to discuss new law protecting American flag

2 months 4 days 16 hours ago Monday, October 09 2017 Oct 9, 2017 October 09, 2017 7:15 PM October 09, 2017 in News
Source: WBRZ

PLAQUEMINE - Residents in Iberville Parish say they'd back a new ordinance that would ban anyone from damaging or defacing an American flag.

The proposal would cover the parish's flag along with the Louisiana state flag, with penalties range from a six-month stay in jail to a $1,000 fine.

"I promised veterans that I would pass an ordinance prohibiting burning of the flag," Council Chariman Matt Jewell said.

The chairman wasn't alone in his hope to pass the ordinance. Several residents we spoke to were vocal in their support of the proposal.

"I think it's just degrading, disrespectful, and, in my opinion, it's up there with shooting the Bald Eagle," Nathan Jones said.

But even with full support, LSU Law Professor John Devlin says officials would have a hard time enforcing the ordinance. He says there are state and federal statutes already banning the desecration of the flag. 

"Under current Supreme Court law, neither statute would be enforceable," Devlin said. "The defendant would have a very strong argument that any penalty assessed under that ordinance would be unconstitutional."

According to the proposal, any “word, mark, design or advertisement of any nature” on the flags would be outlawed. In addition, the flags would be protected from what is described as public mutilation, and intentional acts to defile, burn or “cast contempt on any American, Louisiana or Iberville Parish flag.”

The proposal will be discussed at an upcoming parish council meeting on Oct. 17.   

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