Magistrate upholds Iowa county's steel-wheel ban in case involving Old Order Mennonites

Osage, USA - A Mitchell County magistrate has upheld the constitutionality of an ordinance that bans vehicles with steel wheels from the county's hard-surfaced roads.

In the ruling last week, Magistrate DeDra Schroeder upheld charges against 13-year-old Matthew H. Zimmerman, a member of the Old Order Mennonites who was found guilty in March of violating the ordinance.

The county says the wheels damage the roads, but Old Order Mennonite farmers say the use of conventional wheels would violate church rules.

In arguments earlier this month, attorney Colin Murphy defended members of the church and their constitutional right to exercise religious freedom.

But County Attorney Mark Walk argued that the ordinance affects everyone equally and reflects nothing more than a desire to protect public roads and avoid costly repairs.