Senate leader: Statehouse rallies need law enforcement's OK

Published: Jul. 29, 2015 at 8:50 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 8, 2015 at 8:50 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - State Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler says groups that want to rally at the Statehouse should be required to get permission from state law enforcement.

Peeler said Wednesday he will introduce legislation for next year that creates a permit process through the Department of Public Safety for demonstrations on Statehouse grounds. Legislators' first opportunity to pre-file bills is in December.

Peeler's announcement comes a day after his committee asked a Department of Administration official why the Cabinet agency authorized the Ku Klux Klan and an affiliate of the New Black Panther Party to hold overlapping rallies July 18 on opposite sides of the Statehouse.

Peeler says the answers lacked common sense. He believes the state can limit when and where demonstrations occur without trampling on First Amendment rights.

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