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Bartlett proposes bill to keep U.S. flag flying

July 02, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

A bill proposed by U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., that would enable people to fly the American flag in communities where such displays are prohibited was approved Tuesday by the House of Representatives.

Bartlett's bill, The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act, is one of 10 bills included on the American Values Agenda released on June 27, according to a written release from Bartlett spokeswoman Lisa Lyons Wright.

Wright said Bartlett learned from Hugh Warner, a Frederick, Md., constituent and flag dealer, "that some homeowners associations and condos prevent Americans from flying the American flag at their homes."

She said that the bill "will guarantee Americans the freedom to display the American flag in front of their homes" in states not otherwise protected.

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"The existence of the bill has been brought to the attention of the Senate, and Congressman Bartlett is hopeful that the Senate will approve it, but there has been no timetable set," Wright said.

Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich in 2004 signed into law House Bill 1017, a similar bill, that said homeowners or tenants may not be "prohibited from displaying in a respectful manner on the property in which the homeowner or tenant resides one United States flag regardless of the terms of any contract, deed, or other document regarding the display of flags or decorations ..."

Bartlett's bill states: "A condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of the United States on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use," according to the release.

The bill specifically permits "any reasonable restriction pertaining to the time, place, or manner of displaying the flag of the United States necessary to protect a substantial interest of the condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association," according to the release.

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