The state agency that manages the Georgia capitol will now explicitly allow hand-held signs inside the building.
The Georgia Building Authority added the policy Tuesday after facing a lawsuit earlier this year. Previously, the agency had no rule in its policies regarding hand-held signs under the Gold Dome.
When capitol police blocked protesters from carrying signs into the building in March, the ACLU of Georgia sued for temporary permission and won.
“No where is the freedom of speech more important than in the very seat of government where our elected representatives are making policies for the state,” said Sean Young, ACLU of Georgia legal director.
The rule, which is included in the Georgia Building Authority’s Capitol and Grounds Exhibit and Event Guidelines, allows hand-held signs in common areas of the Capitol but says they can’t be larger than 22 by 28 inches.
The authority’s guidelines still prohibit signs on sticks and say the state House and Senate can make their own rules for what to allow inside their chambers.
Previously, decisions about which signs to allow were left up to officers with the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
“The Department of Public Safety always had the ability to allow and deny signage … not based on content but based on size,” said Morgan Smith-Williams, Georgia Building Authority communications director.
She says the new policy comes in the wake of the ACLU of Georgia’s lawsuit.