City Council cancels special meeting Monday afternoon about neighborhood protests
Updated July 19, 2020 – The special session was canceled at the request of the City Attorney, who reported that the following laws pertain to targeted residential picketing:
The applicable sections of state law are Virginia Code sections 18.2-418 and 18.2-419.
Code of Virginia section 18.2-418 declares the policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia: “that the protection and preservation of the home is the keystone of democratic government, that the public health and welfare and the good order of the community require that members of the community enjoy in their homes a feeling of well-being, tranquility, and privacy . . . that the practice of picketing before or about residences and dwelling places causes emotional disturbance and distress to the occupants; that such practice has as its object the harassing of such occupants; and without resort to such practice, full opportunity exists, and . . . will continue to exist, for the exercise of freedom of speech and other constitutional rights . . .
Code of Virginia section 18.2-419 states: “any person who shall engage in picketing before or about the residence or dwelling place of any individual, or who shall assemble with another person or persons in a manner which disrupts or threatens to disrupt any individual’s right to tranquility in his home, shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. Each day on which a violation of this section occurs shall constitute a separate offense.”
City Council accepted this report in lieu of a report at the planned special session, and determined that the special session was not necessary.