Directed public access at W.Va. State Capitol begins Jan. 8, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lawrence Messina
Dec. 30, 2015
UPDATED: Directed public access at W.Va. State Capitol begins Jan. 8
W.Va. – Starting Jan. 8, 2016, all visitors to the West Virginia State Capitol
building must enter through a screening checkpoint, the Division of Protective
Services has announced.
public access point for the State Capitol, also known as Building 1 of the
W.Va. Capitol Complex, will be the west entrance to the West Wing, opposite the
state Culture Center. This is the building’s closest entrance to the new Bus
Turnaround Loop as well as to metered public parking north of the W.Va.
measures are in line with security procedures at many other state Capitol
buildings across the country, and a number of other public buildings in West
Virginia including libraries and courthouses,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said. “Our
Capitol is one of the most beautiful Capitol buildings in the country, and we
want to encourage West Virginians and visitors alike to visit and learn more
about our state. We must also do everything in our power to ensure the safety
of our employees and visitors, especially our school children, while
maintaining open access for all."
A second directed public access point will operate
at the east entrance of the East Wing, along California Avenue. That access
point will be available starting Jan. 10, 2016, when legislators begin the
interim meetings that precede their 60-day regular session.
***UPDATE: The East Wing access point will operate year-round during the same hours as the West Wing access point, and not just when the Legislature is meeting. The House of Delegates, State Senate and executive branch have agreed to cover the estimated costs of operating the access points.
Capitol building is the seat of West Virginia’s elected government.
Representatives of all three branches – the Legislature, the Supreme Court, and
the constitutional officers of the executive branch – have advocated for these
reasonable safety measures.
blessed to have such a beautiful Capitol building, and I want to make sure
everybody who comes through our doors feels safe, whether they’re a visitor or
a Capitol employee,” Senate President Bill Cole said. “It is critical that we
take these necessary steps to increase security and be prepared now, and not
wait until it is too late to act.”
point entrances are wheelchair accessible. Access point hours are
Monday-Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and
Sunday and holidays, noon
to 5:30 p.m. Access point hours will be adjusted when necessary to accommodate
state government meetings.
All members of the
public, including visiting media, contractors and vendors, must pass through an
access point to enter the State Capitol as of Jan. 8. Each visitor will be
screened by a magnetometer, and will be asked to empty their pockets into
provided containers so those items can be inspected. Briefcases, purses,
packages, and similar items will be screened by an X-ray machine.
Visitors will not be
allowed to enter the State Capitol with prohibited items. Prohibited items
include dangerous or deadly weapons as defined by W.Va. State Code §61-7-2 (http://www.legis.state.wv.us/WVCODE/ChapterEntire.cfm?chap=61&art=7§ion=2#07),
and personal defense items such as pepper spray and mace.
Other items and
materials may be prohibited if they appear to pose a risk to people or
property. Visitors are urged to apply common sense and be mindful of this
prohibition before they enter the Capitol Complex grounds. It is the
responsibility of visitors to ensure that they do not possess prohibited items
before they seek to enter the State Capitol. Prohibited items will not be
stored, confiscated or otherwise disposed of by access point personnel. Any
visitor who refuses to submit to a screening will be denied access to the State
State employees and other
individuals with electronic card access to Building 1 can continue to enter the
State Capitol through the building’s other entrances. However, access card
holders will be subject to screening if they enter through a directed public
access point. Access cards will be revoked if they are used to allow others
to enter the State Capitol. Propping open building entrance doors is
prohibited as well.
The Division of
Protectives Services, also known as the Capitol Police, is part of the West
Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.
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