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Experts say ID requirement for Rep. Perry town hall on Saturday is legal

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Mar 16, 2017 1:38 PM
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Photo by AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

House Homeland Security Committee member Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, for a joint hearing of the Senate-House Homeland Security subcommittees on the Secret Service.

(Harrisburg) -- A midstate congressman is set to host an town hall tomorrow, one of the first to be held in-person in months among the region's GOP delegation.

One of the requirements to attend caught the attention of some people.

Republican Scott Perry, who represents parts of Cumberland, Dauphin and York counties, asked people to RSVP to show that they live in his district, and his staff wants to see photo ID at the door.

The town hall is set for Saturday morning at 9:30 at Red Lion Junior High School.

Perry's spokeswoman Brandy Brown says asking for ID ensures the congressman is only hearing from people he's elected to represent.

Michael Dimino, a constitutional law professor at Widener Commonwealth, says if the lawmaker was limiting the town hall to members of one party, that would be illegal.

"But a restriction based on residency, people who are in my district come to this and people who aren't in my district, don't, that seems an entirely reasonable restriction and so it would be constitutional," says Dimino. "When you have a limited forum, people are allowed to limit attendees and speakers as long as those limitations are reasonable and viewpoint-neutral."

Brown says Red Lion was selected because it was available, and larger spaces don't allow for effective discussions.

She says Perry is working to get more town halls scheduled in the coming months.

Most of the midstate's other federal lawmakers have avoided holding such events.

Town halls have been disrupted across the nation over Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, leading some GOP lawmakers to claim the protestors are paid, without offering any evidence.

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