The NC General Assembly is proposing some rule changes to for the legislative building and legislative office building areas. This is most likely in response to Moral Monday and the description by Judge Nancy Hamilton that the NCGA’s building’s ‘vague’ rules.
— Pete Kaliner (@PeteKaliner) May 15, 2014
Those ‘vague’ rules have been in place and not revamped since 1987. Up until Moral Monday, there had been no problems with the rules and many protests had taken place — without arrests. I pointed this out back in January:
News and Observer reminds us of the activist Judge calling the rules ‘vague’:
Judge Nancy Hamilton, a former Wake County district court judge, hired by the Administrative Office of the Courts to help with the hundreds of trials, let the prosecutors and defense teams know in November that she found Legislative Building regulations governing the posting or displaying of signs or placards unconstitutional because of their vagueness.
This week, after one of the demonstrators testified about going into the Legislative Building to advocate for equal rights, the judge said that decades earlier she had been among those at a rally for the Equal Rights Amendment and that no arrests occurred then.
No arrests then? Gee, maybe because they dispersed?
A look at page 2 through 4 (section D), which covers the general rules for visitors of the proposed changes shows an intent to alter assembly on the grassy areas around the legislature unless for maintenance, repair or servicing the building. It also proposes to beef up the definition of what is considered behavior or activity disruptive to the conducting of business at the legislature.
An addition is the proposed banning of signs. Specifically “signs on handsticks” or “affixed to any structure or any equipment” in the legislature. It also proposed to ban any signs that create an immediate disruption to business being conducted. The penalty is confiscation.
Overall the changes target groups or persons creating a disruption which would inhibit or disturb business going on at the legislature. None of the changes appear to be particularly egregious or heavy-handed. Perhaps Judge Hamilton will be satisfied now.
UPDATE: Link to Rules Document at NCLeg.net
Rep. Moore was interviewed on the changes: