As her attorneys promised, the Gov. Nikki Haley and the State Budget and Control Board are working quickly to make regulations stopping anyone from camping or sleeping on Statehouse grounds.
The five-member board meets today at 10:00 a.m. to address new regulations. Read proposal here.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Cameron Currie made it clear that Statehouse regulations were not clear and accessible enough. She says they could have been enacted and enforced before a challenge was taken to federal court.
In fact, 22 years ago in the case of G.R.O.W. versus Campbell, state government was urged to create clear regulations and it has not happened, until now.
The judge also said that the governor did not have the authority to act for the State Budget and Control Board, when it comes to enforcing regulations. The five member board, which she chairs, must agree on action taken on their behalf.
Once the new rules are enacted, they must also pass U.S. Constitutional muster when it comes to the time, place and manner of the restrictions.
Occupy Columbia continues to argue that the tents are part of their expression. They are rallying their own supporters to appeal to budget board members.
There is some precedent in the federal courts for limiting camping on government property.
So, depending on Occupy Columbia’s response, the issue may be tested in court again on First Amendment grounds this time.