New policies and procedures for visiting the Indiana State House will be effective January 1. The Indiana State Fire Marshall’s Office, the Indiana Department of Administration (IDOA), the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) and the Indiana State Police (ISP) will implement the protocols, which officials say will ensure public safety and access to the building.
“Public safety is our primary concern as we work to facilitate the most possible accessibility to the state capitol and the legislative process while ensuring, at the same time, the safest possible environment,” said State Police Superintendent Paul Whitesell. “These procedures are reflective of those used at the Nation’s Capitol and are necessary to ensure public safety. During the last legislative session, several scheduled events were interrupted or canceled, and we want everyone who visits or schedules an event in the building to have a pleasant and successful experience.”
Some groups spoke out against the changes, including the Indiana AFL-CIO. President Nancy Guyott called it an arrogant move.
“For generations Hoosiers have been welcomed to the Indiana Statehouse where they could speak directly to their elected representatives about legislative matters that impact their daily lives. But with this decision by the Daniels’ administration, it is the people’s house no more.
Hiding behind the State Police and conveniently contrived capacity concerns, those in control of the Statehouse are using this “policy” to shut out the voices of dissent and limit access to government to only those they favor. Under this policy neither lobbyist nor no donor will be turned away – yet every day, taxpaying citizens will be."
Here is an overview of the policies.
- The State House will open at 7:30 a.m. each day and will close at 5:00 p.m. or, at the conclusion of the day’s legislative business
- The general public will enter the State House through the East doors
- Hallways and stairs must remain free of obstruction and afford safe movement throughout the day
- The main (2nd) floor of the State House is the primary assembly area for visitors inside the building
- The South lawn is the primary assembly area for those who are outside the State House
- Inside the State House, assembly in the basement (first floor) will be restricted to official meeting rooms due to hallways that are narrow and must remain unobstructedAssembly on the 3rd floor will be limited to official meeting rooms and specified areas outside of each Legislative Chamber
- Assembly on the 4th floor will be limited to areas North and South of the rotunda balcony
- A Code of Conduct and a list of items restricted from the State House may be found at this link: Click HERE and look for the words ‘Indiana Statehouse and Government Center Security Policies’ under the center banner of the ISP website home page. This Code is drawn from the Code of Conduct that has been in place at the Nation’s Capitol for some time
- The State Fire Marshall has determined ordinary occupancy of the building should not exceed 3,000 people. This includes those who work in the State House
Traffic will be restricted on Robert Orr Drive. The North end of Senate Avenue will be reserved for Handicapped access and emergency vehicles. Handicapped access to the State House will remain at the West entrance on the first floor. Media parking remains at the south end of Senate Avenue. Usual traffic from West Street onto Robert Orr Drive will be returned to West Street at the divider.