States’ flag-burning laws unconstitutional, but persist

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has said flag-burning is a protected form of free speech, but a central Illinois man was jailed on July 4th under an old Illinois law that still says it is illegal.

An Associated Press analysis found that at least 40 states have similar laws, which occasionally lead to arrests.

Ken Paulson is president of the First Amendment Center and believes those laws need to be repealed.

But lawmakers like Maryland Democrat Eric Bromwell say legislators have little incentive because a repeal may alienate some voters.

Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz immediately asked the Urbana Police Department to arrest the man, who posted a video of the act on Facebook as a protest and whom police initially said was taken into custody to protect from threats.