League of Women Voters of Klamath County League of Women Voters of Klamath County
Empowering Voters in Klamath County!
The League of Women Voters and Free Speech

For those who have been following the Klamath County Library being told by the BOCC (Klamath County Commissioners) what our library can or cannot sponsor because it may be deemed as political, (even though the county has yet to define "political") you may want to mark these dates, specifically this Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 6th, at 1:00 p.m..concerned residents are being urged to speak to the Klamath County Commissioners before their business meeting to register your misgivings about their library censorship .  You have 90 seconds to comment and you may have to sign in as a speaker before the meeting.  You may also watch the proceedings on ZOOM (there is a link on the agenda) and ask to speak.  
Wednesday, June 7th, at 1:30 p.m., there is a BOCC (Commissioners) with county counsel PUBLIC meeting.  There may be library discussion with the county counsel but there has been no agenda posted yet.  AGAIN, the public is invited to the meeting. 
Wednesday, June 7th, at 3 p.m., there will be a BOCC work session where the Library is going to be discussed.  This meeting is very important and everyone is urged to attend to show support for the library.  
If concerned citizens do not show up for these meetings the Klamath County Commissioners may believe they have unfettered power to do as they wish. We hope you can take time out of your busy day to show your support for an uncensored library.  P.S.  You can leave at any time during the meetings. 


  1. BOCC Business Meeting

    June 6, 2023, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
    Government Center Room 219
  2. BOCC County Counsel Public Meeting Immediately Following Executive Session

    June 7, 2023, 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

    Room 214

    More Details
  3. BOCC Work Session

    June 7, 2023, 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    Government Center Room 214


One of the community organizers has asked:

"I'd like to ask you to help get the word out about two upcoming meetings.  On Tuesday, June 6th at 1:00 pm the County Commissioners will hold their regular meeting at which they accept public comment on any topic.  They only allow a commenter a minute and a half, so you have to be succinct.  We'd like as many folks as possible to go and make a comment about the Library First Amendment issue.  The gist is that the Commissioners, acting as the Directors of the Library Service District, have canceled one book club and directed that nothing "political" should be discussed at the Library.  "Political" is undefined, as are the number and names of complainants who "rang Dave Henslee's phone off the hook", bypassing the established complaint procedure in place at the Library.  This issue will not be on their Tuesday meeting agenda, so folks can just make their statements and leave, if they're not interested in any agenda items.  Then the next day, Wednesday, June 7th, at 3:00 pm the Commissioners will hold a work session on the Library issue.  It is a public meeting...again we'd like as many folks as possible at the meeting, but public comment will not be taken."

What is the League's view on free speech?

Limits on Free Speech. Do these apply here? You decide.

The right to free speech is not absolute. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the government sometimes may be allowed to limit speech. Historically, a fundamental distinction arose between the content of speech and the means whereby that speech is expressed.

Speech is given the greatest level of protection and the highest level of scrutiny by the Court under the First Amendment. But even the content of speech can be limited if it is an incitement to violence or obscene and without any redeeming social value. Although not subject to “prior restraint,” libel, slander, wrongful use of copyright material and fraudulent commercial speech are examples of speech that crosses the boundary of protection and can be enjoined and/or result in an award for damages.

Limits to freedom of speech have also been made with regard to content-neutral regulation of the means of expression. Means used to exercise freedom of speech have been subjected to “reasonable” limits with respect to time, place and manner of expression. Regulations like noise ordinances, anti-littering laws, and rules limiting occupation of public spaces like sidewalks, streets or the Mall in Washington, D.C., have been upheld when deemed to be reasonable.

Nor is free speech always popular. Protection of persons who make racist or sexist opinions can be misinterpreted as support of the statements. One federal judge stated that tolerating hateful speech is “the best protection we have against any Nazi-type regime in this country.” To not restrict such speech has been interpreted as a valid governmental interest; but it would be in the government’s interest to limit that speech if it incites violence.

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League of Women Voters of Klamath County
8880 Tingley Lane, Klamath Falls OR 97603