SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) – Governor Noem is being sued by the Institute for Free Speech on behalf of a group trying to protest vaccine mandates on State Capitol grounds.
The group of protesters, called ‘Blue State Refugees’, says they planned to hold a demonstration next week during the special legislative session on Nov. 8 and 9. The protest was planned in an effort to get the South Dakota Legislature to take up a bill that would keep businesses from requiring vaccines as a condition of employment.
The protesters say they were denied a permit for the dates on the basis that the Capitol grounds are being decorated with Christmas displays. The state allegedly told the group that protests or rallies are not allowed on the grounds for at least two months while it is decorated for the holidays.
The Institute of Free Speech is calling the permit denial and its “absurd justification” a violation of the First Amendment. The Institute of Free Speech also filed a temporary restraining order to allow the planned demonstration to go on.
“The Noem administration is restricting First Amendment rights and blaming it on Christmas. It doesn’t take two months to decorate, and it doesn’t require banning rallies across the entire capitol grounds,” said Institute for Free Speech Vice President for Litigation Alan Gura.
The Institute of Free Speech filed the lawsuit Wednesday night.