|Action||Revise Existing Regulation|
|Comment Period||Ends 5/25/2022|
Rhonda Bishton, Director's Executive Administrative Assistant
Department of General Services
1100 Bank Street
Richmond, VA 23219
RE: Regulations for Capitol Square [1 VAC 30 ? 100]
Dear Ms. Bishton:
The National Day of Prayer appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Department of General Services’ final stage of proposed changes to the Regulations for Capitol Square [1 VAC 30-100] to request the reopening the proposed stage of the rulemaking process in order to further protect individuals’ and organizations in Virginia’s freedom of speech.
National Day of Prayer:
The National Day of Prayer belongs to all Americans. It is a day that transcends differences, bringing together citizens from all backgrounds. Mrs. Shirley Dobson, NDP chairman, reminds us: "We have lost many of our freedoms in America because we have been asleep. I feel if we do not become involved and support the annual National Day of Prayer, we could end up forfeiting this freedom, too."
Reopening of Proposed Stage of Regulations for Capitol Square [1 VAC 30 ? 100] Rulemaking
Under the current proposed amendments to the Regulations for Capitol Square Section 1VAC30-100-50. Permit Process, subsection E, states: “Permitted events may last a maximum of one hour, with an additional 30 minutes to set up the event and 30 minutes to take it down.” It is in the interest of individuals and organizations in the Commonwealth of Virginia, wishing to practice their first amendment right to free speech in the U.S. Constitution, that the regulation is amended to include 1 hour of set up time, 1.5 hours of the permitted event time, and to keep the additional 45 minutes of time to take down the event set up at the end of the permitted event. We request that the Department of General Services reopens the proposed stage to comment for this amendment to the Regulations for Capitol Square [1 VAC 30 ? 100] Rulemaking.
It has come to our attention that the time allotted for set-up and a rally event is simply not enough time to set up baseline quality audio and visual equipment for a permitted event. It is our desire to follow the rules and regulations of using the grounds on Capitol Square that are enforced by the Department of General Services. However, vendors that provide basic audio and visual needs have expressed that they need at least an hour to set up equipment.
In other states’ capitol grounds’ permitted event regulations, more time is given to event organizers to set up, execute the event, and breakdown equipment thereafter. In states such as California, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, organizers have been able to set up at least 2 hours before an event begins. After an approximately hour-long event concludes, the amount of time to break down equipment typically lasts between 45 minutes – 1 hour depending on the level of production in that particular event.
In order to successfully grant the right to free speech via a permitted event on the Capitol Grounds in Richmond, it is imperative that the Department of General Services reopens the proposed stage of the Regulations for Capitol Square [1 VAC 30 ? 100] rulemaking so that these proposed changes to the time allowed for set up, execution, and break down of a permitted event may be made. It is in the interest of protecting every Virginian’s first amendment rights.
Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the amendment to the Regulations for Capitol Square in its final stage. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.
Mr. Ellery Gotay
Retired Master Sergeant, ARMY
National Day of Prayer
Richmond Regional Coordinator