DOA Secretary addresses new security procedures at Capitol - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

DOA Secretary addresses new security procedures at Capitol


By Colby Robertson - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Capitol opened it's doors at 8 a.m. with revised entry procedures, limitations on what can be brought in and a new requirement that rallies remain on the ground floor.

DOA Communications sent out a list of new procedures put in place starting Friday:

-Visitors to the Capitol must enter and exit at the North and South Hamilton doors.

-Members of the public can enter the Capitol for meetings, committee hearings, tours or other purposes.

-Members of the publican participating in a rally or protest must remain on the ground floor rotunda area.

-Carry-ins including sleeping bags, mattresses, musical instruments or noisemakers, cooking appliances and other items prohibited by the administrative code will not be allowed into the building.

-Visitors are prohibited from affixing or removing signs taped inside the Capitol. The Capitol is a National Historic Landmark and removal of tape and the restoration of building must be handled professionally.

The State Capitol will close at 6:00 p.m. Friday. Weekend hours are 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Large crowds are expected at the Capitol Saturday. DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch says they will keep an eye on the number of people in the Capitol over the weekend and coming weeks. Friday, hundreds returned to the rotunda cheering and chanting.

Huebsch says there is no maximum capacity number, but if they feel the Capitol has reached capacity, they will limit people from entering the building.

Huebsch says, "What we want to accomplish is a capacity management plan. Where we look at the number of people in the rotunda and the number of people inside. In order to try and maintain that balance."

Huebsch believes the new security measures put in place Friday went well. He says the key to restoring access to the public was getting those 50 protesters out Thursday night. That allowed them to get a cleaning crews in and restore normal business hours once again.

Huebsch says, "As the last of the protesters left, you saw more access today. My hope is that will happen for the foreseeable future."

As of 6:15 p.m. Friday night, all protesters were out of the Capitol. Police say they left peacefully as the building closed for the night. Just before 6:00 p.m. protesters walked out chanting, "So long, we'll see you tomorrow." There were no arrests Friday night.

New procedures were put in place after a judge issued an order Thursday protesters could no longer sleep in the Capitol. Hundreds had been sleeping in the Capitol overnight for more than two weeks.

Friday, anyone who entered the building had to go through a security checkpoint. Secretary Mike Huebsch says they will continue to use metal detector wands as long as the protests at the Capitol continue.

Other security measures include limiting protesters to the ground floor and closing East Washington, West Washington and Wisconsin Avenue entrances.

Huebsch says after the building returns to more normal operations, they will re-evaluate all security measures.

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