Gov. Nikki Haley and the Budget and Control Board voted today in an emergency meeting to ban camping and sleeping on Statehouse grounds. The action was prompted by a federal judge’s injunction allowing Occupy Columbia to continue their 24-hour protests until state government came up with a clear and fair regulation. The regulation is being filed today with the federal court for review. It must also be approved by the Legislature.
In her statement before the vote, Haley says she welcomes the Occupy Columbia movement to say whatever they want on the property, which is overseen by the Budget and Control Board for the Legislature. Her contention is that camping should not be allowed. Read regulation.
After the meeting, the governor took questions from the media and found herself face-to-face with the protestors she had arrested. AUDIO: Haley answers protester questions.
Occupy Columbia members questioned the emergency move, since there have been two Budget and Control Board meetings since their occupation began. “They called an emergency meeting, I believe, because they lost their court case,” said Melissa Harmon, a frequent spokesperson for the group. She said that she will continue to keep a tent on the grounds, because the tent is part of the message. AUDIO: Harmon says she will stay, despite the threat of eventually being arrested again.