Protesters file legal challenge to Legislative Building rules

Posted June 12, 2014

Protesters gather outside House Speaker Thom Tillis' office on May 27, 2014. (Photo by Laura Leslie)

— The state chapter of the NAACP and other protesters are seeking to overturn rules that limit demonstrations at the Legislative Building.

The group filed suit Wednesday seeking a restraining order that would prevent the General Assembly Police from enforcing rules that prohibit groups from making enough noise to interfere with conversation and allow officers to order people to leave the building if they think those people pose an "imminent threat" of a disturbance.

A court hearing is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Friday.

The NAACP noted in a Thursday news release that lawmakers didn't define what constitutes a "disturbance" or an "imminent threat" when they hastily rewrote the rules for public access to the Legislative Building rules in May before the "Moral Monday" demonstrations resumed for a second year.

Last summer, more than 900 people were arrested during the weekly protests of Republican policies such as cutting unemployment benefits and changing elections laws. They were charged with trespassing and violating the Legislative Building rules. Some have since been convicted, others acquitted, while some cases were dismissed as part of a deal with Wake County prosecutors and others are still awaiting trial.

The NAACP and protesters Douglas and Vicki Ryder, Stella Adams, Sylvia Barnes and O'Linda Gillis contend that the revised building rules are vague and violate both the U.S. and North Carolina constitutions.

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said Thursday that the updated rules were what allowed him to meet for a hour Monday night with a group of protesters to discuss education issues.

“For years, we’ve heard feedback that the 30-year-old building rules implemented by previous Democrat leaders were confusing and restrictive,” Berger said in a statement. “We responded to those concerns, and I am baffled why (state NAACP President) Rev. Barber is now trying to turn back the progress we made in increasing building access and free speech.”

Berger noted that the rules now allow handheld signs with political messages and permit people on the second floor of the building, where his office is located.


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  • Obama-in-2016 Jun 13, 2014

    They are simply fighting for their rights to vote. It's a good cause!

  • Ty Shrake Jun 13, 2014
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    What, exactly, do hate groups look like?

  • WralCensorsAreBias Jun 13, 2014

    "The NAACP is a racist organization by its very nature."

    Yes it is and always has been. Those in charge are very much that and more. Those that are the followers are the sad ones.

  • veryfrustrated1 Jun 13, 2014

    The state would have to add $10 billion to the existing $21 billion budget to institute the demands of the barber & his weekly protestors. Necessarily state taxes would have to go up almost 50%. The protests are all about politics & have nothing to do with reality!

  • Joseph Shepard Jun 13, 2014
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    Gidder Dun: Really??? These are your "factual sources"?? Huffington Post?? Some story about Rand Paul? And the wife of a Mississippi State Senator??? And you want to try and paint the Tea Party as disruptive, assaultive, etc??? Please--do some basic research and cite clearly your sources.

  • Maurice Pentico Jr. Jun 13, 2014
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    The NAACP is a racist organization by its very nature. The "Good" rev Barber has already made his views on race well known. And to be clear... not all of the Moral Monday protest issues center around race... but I'm not sure which ones.. or how many there really are, or what they are all about, or why they protest the way they do.

  • Alan Baker Jun 13, 2014
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    My definition of racist is insufficiently flexible to encompass "Black Man saying things I don't want to hear." but others seem to be slightly more liberal in their usage.

  • Alan Baker Jun 13, 2014
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    I'm sure you believe that but I can safely guarantee that the Southern Poverty Law Center has better things to worry about, no matter how scary that line of elderly middle class people looks to you.

  • sabsco Jun 13, 2014

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    And ketchup is a vegetable. It's also good on taters!

  • ncouterbanks69 Jun 13, 2014

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    You and everyone else thinking properly and not living in democrat fantasy land.