|Action||Revise Existing Regulation|
|Comment Period||Ends 5/25/2022|
May 24, 2022
Director's Executive Administrative Assistant
Department of General Services
1100 Bank Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Via Electronic Filing at https://townhall.virginia.gov/
RE: Regulations for Capitol Square [1 VAC 30 ? 100]
Dear Ms. Bishton:
The Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) 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 exercising freedom of speech and assembly under the Virginia constitution.
About Susan B. Anthony List:
SBA List is a family of organizations devoted to ending abortion by electing national leaders and advocating for laws that save lives, with a special calling to promote pro-life women leaders. Our efforts include policy advocacy and voter education projects in a variety of states including the Commonwealth of Virginia. We have participated in peaceful public events on the Capitol Grounds in Richmond on several occasions.
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 and peaceful assembly in the U.S. Constitution, that the regulation is amended to include at least 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 reopen the proposed stage to comment for this reasonable 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 to establish 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. We believe a modest expansion of time for these purposes is reasonable and consonant with government goals for orderly access to the Capitol Grounds.
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 protect the right to free speech via a permitted event on the Capitol Grounds in Richmond, it is imperative that the Department of General Services reopen 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, irrespective of issue or party.
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.
Executive Vice President
Susan B. Anthony List