On Friday, House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, ordered access points to House lawmakers; offices locked, effectively closing them to the general public. Denney says he made that move for the protection of lawmakers’ personal items.
Denney told IdahoReporter.com Monday that after a lawmaker took a group of Occupy Boise members on a tour of House office, the next day a legislator’s security guard – that grants access to secure areas of the building – went missing.
The card has not been recovered, but has been deactivated so it no longer opens electronically-locked doors.
The speaker said he prefers having greater public access to lawmakers, but is concerned with safety. “I like to have it all open,” Denney said. “There are security issues.”
Representatives’ offices, for the most part, are cubicles that don’t come with doors. Committee chairmen get larger offices equipped with locking doors.
As to when the offices might open again to the general public, Denney will listen to fellow lawmakers on that. “It’s up to our caucus,” he said. “They may like the added security.”
For the past two sessions, House visitors could come and go as they pleased to meet with lawmakers.
To meet with lawmakers, visitors must now schedule time with lawmakers and must go through a security checkpoint. Senate visitors face somewhat similar scrutiny. Secretaries for senators typically screen visitors prior to entry.
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