UPDATED: Governor implements statehouse security measures

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(Updated to correct date of parking garage closure to Jan. 15 sted 17th)

Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration is putting in place security measures at the Capitol with the threat of planned protests at statehouses across the country amid the turmoil surrounding the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

In a memo sent to legislative leadership on Thursday, the administration announced that visitor access to the statehouse parking garage will be closed and only be accessible to
legislators and staff who have keycard access.

The closure of the garage will start at the close of business Friday, Jan. 15, and continue through the close of business Friday, Jan. 22.

The state has information that there is an event planned for noon Jan. 17 with other potential gatherings scheduled for next week, including Jan. 20 when President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office.

“It is certainly appropriate to implement security measures in and around the state Capitol, such as enhanced protocols regarding access and an increased law enforcement presence,” Senate President Ty Masterson said in response to the governor’s action.

“We fully expect Kansans to exercise their constitutional rights in a peaceful way, and that the business of the people will continue as scheduled.”

Other measures include:

  • Keycard access to perimeter doors will be removed. The only access to the statehouse
    will be through the visitor’s entrance on the north side of the building. Anyone exiting
    through doors on the east, south or west sides of the building won’t be able to re-enter
    through those doors. No one should prop open a perimeter door.
  • Those having keycard access will be able to access the side door instead of going through the security checkpoint. However, those individuals will need to show their badge to Capitol police in order to enter the door.
  • The statehouse will remain closed to the public, and only those having business
    before the Legislature and the governor’s office will be allowed into the Capitol.
  • Anyone with business at the Capitol will need an e-mail indicating that they have a meeting on that day or are scheduled to provide testimony before a committee.
  • Lobbyist and constituent meetings with legislators are encouraged to be done virtually to keep foot traffic in the Capitol to a minimum. Anyone scheduled to testify also should do so virtually, the memo said.
  • Law enforcement presence has been and will continue to be beefed up during this period.

“Members and staff should rest assured that their safety is our top priority,” said the memo from Kelly’s chief of staff, Will Lawrence.

“Please be aware of your surroundings and report any unusual or concerning activity to capitol police.

“It is important that everyone do their part to cooperate during these times to ensure everyone is safe and business can continue to be conducted.”