Florida town tries to enforce unconstitutional ordinance, Rep. Caruso fights back

A fight is brewing between the Village of North Palm Beach and State Rep. Mike Caruso, R-Delray Beach.

Rep. Caruso distributed yard signs to his supporters in North Palm Beach last month and received an e-mail from the village’s Code Compliance Officer this Wednesday requesting that his signs are removed.

Good morning Mr. Caruso,
Per our Code of Ordinance Sec. 6-114 (f) Permitted temporary signs.
Political signs may not be displayed more than thirty (30) days prior to the event. For your information, I have attached the link for the full description of the Ordinance.

The Village is respectfully requesting that all signs be removed by Thursday June 2nd 2022.
Your cooperation is appreciated.
Lillian Haughton
Code Compliance Officer
Village of North Palm Beach.

The village’s request is emblematic of ordinances and laws across the country that are unconstitutional, according to a 2015 ruling by the Supreme Court in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona.

The ruling found that regulating political yard signs amounts to unconstitutional censorship of political speech and that any regulation of yard signs has to be content-neutral.

Rep Caruso

The ordinance that the Village of North Palm Beach is attempting to enforce has specific restrictions for political campaign yard signs.

“Campaign signs shall not be displayed more than thirty (30) days prior to the election or vote to which they are directed and shall be removed within seven (7) days following the election or vote.” The ordinance reads.

Rep. Caruso’s campaign advisor offered the following statement to PBC Jolt in response to North Palm’s e-mail.

“This is a symptom of a greater issue facing Floridians and the Nation.  The government at all levels is slowly eating at our freedoms.  First, it masks, then vaccines, now it’s what we can place in our yards. Someone should be reviewing these local laws to make sure they don’t infringe on our freedoms.”

Said Anthony Pedicini, Advisor to Rep. Caruso.

Rep. Caruso has not yet specified what he will do to oppose the ordinance, but if he chooses to take legal action against the Village of North Palm Beach, it could set off a political and legal firestorm that will have originated in a small town in Southern Florida.

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