Kansas Statehouse releases security guidelines in response to inauguration protests

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 5:03 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Statehouse has released its security guidelines to guard against inauguration protests.

The Office of the Governor says, as many are aware from FBI news alerts after the U.S. Capitol protest, there are planned protests throughout the nation at each state capitol building on Jan. 17, and beyond. It said in Kansas, there is information that there is a planned event for noon on Jan. 17, as well as other potential gatherings scheduled for the week of the inauguration, including one Wednesday, Jan. 20.

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

In response, Governor Laura Kelly’s Office says it has concerns about potential security issues and is making several changes from the close of business on Friday, Jan. 15, to the close of business Friday, Jan. 22. It said the changes are as follows:

  • Visitor access to the statehouse parking garage will be closed and only be accessible to legislators and staff with keycard access
  • Keycard access to all 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. Those exiting through doors on the east, south or west sides of the building will not be able to reenter through those doors. Under no circumstance will anyone be allowed to prop open a perimeter door.
  • Those with 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 through that door.
  • The statehouse is currently closed to the public and only those with business before the legislature and the governor’s office will be allowed to enter the building. To facilitate the vetting of those who present themselves to security as having such business, those individuals will need an email showing that they have a meeting on that day or are scheduled to provide testimony before a committee. Should an individual need to contact capitol police regarding someone needing assistance to enter the building, they can be reached directly at 785-296-5512.
  • It is strongly encouraged to have conferees appear virtually and legislators to schedule meetings with lobbyists and constituents virtually to decrease the amount of foot traffic in the statehouse.

According to the Governor’s Office, law enforcement presence has been and will continue to increase throughout this time. It said this will be done through multiple avenues. It said members and staff should be aware that their safety is the top priority. It said to be aware of surroundings and report any unusual or concerning activity to capitol police. It said it is important that everyone do their part to cooperate during this time to ensure everyone is kept safe and business can continue as scheduled.

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