Group sues Gov. Noem over denial of right to assemble due to Christmas decorating

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A group called Blue State Refugees is suing Gov. Kristi Noem and other officials involved with the Bureau of Administration over the right to protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates. 

An initial hearing in federal court is set for 11 a.m. Friday in Pierre. The lawsuit was filed in Lawrence County. 

The lawsuit states “no demonstrations are allowed during the months of November and December anywhere on the State capitol grounds, because the State considers its decorating activities to be an “event” and allows only one “event” per day anywhere, inside or outside, on the capitol grounds.” 

You can view the full 23-page lawsuit below.

The Blue State Refugees are a group of 30 South Dakotans “who moved to the state from other parts of the United States seeking greater individual freedom.”  Members of Blue State Refugees “deeply believe that receipt of COVID-19 vaccines should not be required to maintain employment, attend schools, or access public accommodations and other businesses,” according to court documents. 

Ian Fury, Gov. Noem’s spokesman told KELOLAND News “Nobody is denying the opportunity to speak. We are working with the protesters to accommodate their request.”

The group wants to hold a protest during the legislature’s special sessions on Monday and Tuesday next week. The group is seeking a court injunctive and temporary restraining order.

You can view the list of rules and requirements for individuals or groups wishing to use facilities located on the Capitol Building and Grounds on the South Dakota’s Bureau of Administration’s website.

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