ROCK SPRINGS – A policy that has been in the public arena since July received approval by the Rock Springs City Council Tuesday night.
The policy up for approval addressed the issue of “profanity in print” at the Rock Springs Family Recreation Center, Rock Springs Civic Center and the Paul J. Wataha Complex. It passed by a vote of 8-0. Councilman Jason Armstrong was absent from the meeting.
The new policy reads “The City of Rock Springs recreational facilities are intended to provide a safe, non-threatening, family friendly environment for its patrons. Attire, language or other forms of expression that is considered obscene or patently offensive will not be permitted.”
Councilman Rob Zotti again emphasized to residents this was never about trying to dictate a specific clothing type or tattoos in general.
He said it is exactly what it says it is, limiting obscene and offensive materials in a family environment. If someone comes in with a tattoo that is offensive they will be asked to cover it up. If it is an offensive shirt, they will be asked to flip it inside out or change it.
Since the debate started, Zotti explained he has researched the issue. He said he has looked at similar policies at centers across the nation and also court cases surrounding the issue.
For those who feel like it is limiting first-amendment rights, Zotti said there are many court decisions which have ruled policies like this do not infringe on first-amendment rights. Mainly because the city is tasked to provide a safe, family-friendly environment for everyone.
Closing his remarks, Zotti thanked City Attorney Vince Crow and his office for the work they did on the issue as well as the time they spent researching the policy. Others he thanked included the Parks and Recreation Board, department and staff for being attentive to patrons’ concerns and working to find a solution.
For a history of the debate on the policy go to This Past SweetwaterNOW Story.