State lawmakers say questions still linger after two rival hate groups held simultaneous tension-filled rallies at the Statehouse on July 18 — as to why state officials let it happen.
After a joint legislative committee hearing on the matter Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, has pledged to propose legislation next year that would require permits for protests and rallies.
“Common sense is needed in determining the who, when and where for demonstration activity, and I didn’t hear a lot of that in our State House Committee hearing,” Peeler said in a release. “When I hear a 40-year law enforcement veteran say the July 18th rallies were the worst situation he’s ever seen, it’s time to do something.”
The release did not give any specifics on the proposed law, but Peeler had asked the Division of General Services (which oversees the Statehouse grounds) to base their regulations on the U.S. Capitol’s standards.
State Rep. Chip Huggins of Columbia told South Carolina Radio Network he is favor of procedures that would prevent a repeat of the July 18 protests as long as they don’t violate the First Amendment. “It sounds like a pretty good thing to do. That way you know what you’re dealing with and that would help law enforcement I think,” he said. “As long as it is across the board for everyone.”