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South Padre Island Is Too Strict, Class Claims

MCALLEN, Texas (CN) - The town of South Padre Island violates the U.S. Constitution by imposing overly restrictive regulations on signs, paint schemes, wall murals, art displays, beach sales and even the types of structures to which signs can be posted, a class action claims in Federal Court.

Plaintiff Tabitha Melchor, a real estate agent, spent $12,0000 plastering the outside of an RV with the name of her company and photos of herself - only to be issued citations for violating the town's ordinances, she claims. She says the restrictions violate her First Amendment right to commercial speech.

Similarly, plaintiff Paul Magee, a promoter, claims he was cited for carrying business pamphlets on the beach. "He was not distributing the pamphlets; they were in his backpack," the lawsuit notes.

The plaintiffs say the ordinances are vague, overbroad and unconstitutional, as they have a chilling effect on legal activities.

"People who cannot understand what is unlawful by reading the law tend to err on the side of caution," the lawsuit states.

Lead counsel is George Powell.

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