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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Don’t Tell Us What Art Is,|Group Tells South Padre Island

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (CN) - The Town of South Padre Island, best known as a Spring Break destination, unconstitutionally restricts commercial speech, including what may be painted on RVs that people drive on the beach, a class action claims in Federal Court.

"The town regulates signs (graphics, messages, advertising) on commercial vehicles (Exhibit B). In the case of plaintiff Tabitha Melchor, the town presumes to regulate the content of the message contained in the graphics on the RV. These graphics include pictures of herself and advertising of her own business (Exhibit A). Plaintiff Tabitha Melchor challenges such ordinance.

"Regarding the ordinances regulating 'design' including paint schemes, the town applies the ordinance so as to regulate the actual color a shop owner can use."

The plaintiffs challenge these and other restrictions, including the town's presumption that it can define what's "art," and the "right to travel" on its beaches.

Texas is one of the few, perhaps the only, place left in the United States where people are allowed to drive cars on ocean beaches.

Plaintiffs are represented by George Powell of McAllen.

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