Capitol meditation room returning to original location

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The long-running feud over the Capitol meditation room is now over.

Leading lawmakers on Wednesday agreed to return the room to its original location on the building’s second floor after it had been been relocated to the ground level to make room for the governor’s staff.

The decision, accompanied by a series of other room changes, ends a yearlong dispute between Republican lawmakers and the governor’s office over where the room should be located.

The Legislative Coordinating Council approved a series of room changes that will move the meditation room from the ground level back to Room 221-E.

Last September, the governor’s staff  moved the room to the ground level of the Capitol to use the second-floor space for constituent services staff.

The move irritated some Republican lawmakers, including Majority Leader Dan Hawkins, who believed that they had not been consulted on the move.

The meditation room was relocated to the Capitol’s ground floor in a room that had been used for shooting videos and television interviews.

Hawkins said very few people know how to reach the room after it was moved because it was not in a very public location.

“My position always has been getting the meditation room back where it was and put the governor’s staff downstairs where they moved our meditation room,” he said.

At one point this year, the Legislature’s new spending plan included language that would have moved the room back to the second floor, but it was vetoed by the governor.

Previous budgets from fiscal years 2018, 2019 and 2020 included stipulations that designated Room 221-E on the second floor of the Captiol as a meditation room.

A similar proviso was not included in the fiscal year 2021 budget, giving the governor’s office the chance to use the office as needed.

In other room changes:

The governor’s constituent services staff will move to Room 541-E on the fifth floor.

Senate offices that are now in 541-E will move to 418-E on the fourth floor where the state library staff keeps their office.

The library staff is moving across the street to the Landon Building.

The Senate is moving some of its offices for its clerks to a fourth-floor area that’s now used for meeting space. They will be in Room 420-E.

Senators said they need space that’s more accesible to the clerks who now have to navigate narrow and steep steps to get to their offices behind the chamber.