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Appeals court: Protest policy was unconstitutional

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin appeals court has ruled a state requirement that singers in the state Capitol obtain a permit was unconstitutional.

The case involves Michael Crute, who was cited for joining in a daily sing-along protest in the Capitol rotunda in July 2013. State rules then prohibited anyone from participating in or watching a nonpermitted event in state buildings.

Crute argued the regulations violated his free speech rights. A Madison judge tossed out his ticket in February. The 4th District Court of Appeals upheld that decision on Thursday, ruling the regulations weren’t narrowly written to further a significant state interest.

The state and the American Civil Liberties Union reached a settlement in October 2013 allowing nonpermitted events at the Capitol.

A state Justice Department spokeswoman said agency attorneys are reviewing the ruling with the state Department of Administration.

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