Officials will ban unruly visitors at Madison city hall - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Officials will ban unruly visitors at Madison city hall

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Members of a city-county committee adopted conduct rules for Madison's city hall, with those violating rules subject to being banned from the building.

Last month, Mayor Paul Soglin proposed hiring a security guard to patrol the building's lobby, after a number of episodes of violence, drinking, and other disorderly conduct by visitors, including members of the homeless community.

Committee member Dane County supervisor Paul Rusk says committee members instead decided to borrow from conduct policies at Madison's public library branches. The library's policy spells out behavior with the potential to lead to a building ban, including sleeping, and having more than two, large bags in a branch.

Rusk says committee members did not include any passive behavior such as sleeping as grounds for a city hall building ban. Rusk says the focus of the city-county building behavior policy is aggressive, disruptive acts.

City Council administrator Lisa Veldran tells 27 News she's hopeful the threat of a ban will lead to more respectful conduct by building visitors. Veldran had urged city leaders to address health and safety concerns caused by the actions of some visitors, after a visitor urinated during a shared, elevator ride, and a women's bathroom in the building was made unsanitary by a visitor.

Madison's new, downtown library branch manager Carol Froistad tells 27 News more than twenty people have been banned from the facility since it opened in September.

But Froistad said the library's conduct policy is not meant to single out homeless persons, noting most of those who've been slapped with bans are not members of the homeless community.

Froistad says library personnel has attempted to educate patrons when violations of behavior policy takes place, before any enforcement is considered.

Rusk tells 27 News city hall's policy is consistent with the library's approach by including an appeal process for anyone wishing to challenge a ban. Froistad says the bans issued to library patrons this year have averaged seven months in length.

City Hall's behavior requirements take effect next month.

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