New Policy Limits Crowd Sizes At Ind. Statehouse
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – A new limit on the number of people allowed in the Indiana Statehouse being imposed by state police has protestors and Democrats crying foul.
In a move designed to control crowds, the statehouse’s security branch will limit the number of people inside the statehouse to 3,000 at any one time. That includes lawmakers and staff.
The 3,000 figure was determined by the Indiana State Fire Marshal.
Indiana State Police superintendent Paul Whitesell said the new policy is for public safety.
“These procedures are reflective of those used at the Nation’s Capitol and are necessary to ensure public safety,” Whitesell said.
Groups and union organizations who last year filled the statehouse to protest a right-to-work proposal say the new rule stifles their voices.
“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,” said Indiana AFL-CIO president Nancy Guyott.
House Minority Leader Pat Bauer (D-South Bend) accused Daniels and Republicans of attempted to silence thousands of Hoosiers who oppose right to work legislation.
Whitesell said last year’s crowded protests caused several scheduled events to be interrupted or cancelled.
“We want everyone who visits or schedules an event in the building to have a pleasant and successful experience,” he said.
The main, or second, floor of the statehouse has been designated as the primary indoor assembly area. Larger demonstration crowds who begin to exceed the new cap will be directed to the statehouse’s south lawn, designated as the primary outdoor assembly area.
The details of the new statehouse capacity policy can be found at http://www.in.gov/isp/.
Indiana’s 2012 lawmaking session begins Wednesday. Right to work legislation has been deemed a top priority by Republican leaders in both the House and Senate.