Monday, January 2, 2012

Special Treatment in State House Access?

Indiana State House
Yet another battlefield has opened in the controversial changes in the capacity and access to the Indiana State House.

As you may remember last week, an executive order by Mitch Daniels set the capacity of the Statehouse at 3,000 people including those there working.  That meant an end to some of the large crowds that assembled last year that successfully fought off Right to Work.  Of course, those were union crowds.  If you're lucky enough to get in to the Statehouse, then you could be removed if your sign is too big or your chants and cheers were too loud.  It also clearly set up standards for entry and exit to the building.  The East Door was explicitly set up as the entrance for the public.

Well, it appears that's not the case for every group, according to Associated Press reports.  The Capitol Commission will host its 8th Annual Prayer Service on Wednesday.  Unlike other people that may becoming into the State House on the first day of the legislative session, the Capitol Commission's guests may enter the West Door provided that they present this e-mail from a state agency.  The Indiana Democratic Party points out there is a key sentence in that e-mail document.  "Guests may use the east entrance of the State House but please note the east entrance will be for general public and may experience long delays."

Therefore, union organizers and supporters are telling their people wanting access to the State House tomorrow to also print out the e-mail and present it for access at the West Doors of the State House.  The e-mail was posted on the website of the Capitol Commission for anyone to access.

The new capacities and changes to access to the State House aren't the only changes you'll see.  A frustrated state legislator told me that protesters or people wanting to see the legislature in action can no longer easily look through the windows of the House chamber by the way new crowd control walls have been built.  "They should have just blocked over the windows if they didn't want people looking in them.  It's ridiculous," said the legislator.

It is ridiculous.  This is the people's house and the new rules are clearly politically motivated...especially when it appears certain that some religious groups are getting special access rules over others.

1 comment:

Paul K. Ogden said...

Any time, place or manner restriction on speech has to be applied equally to all speech. Constitutional Law 101. You start making exceptions and the regulation gets struck down as unconstitutional.