Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels this morning rescinded the new security policy which had limited public access to the Statehouse.
Daniels said he made the decision after consulting with legislative leaders and taking into consideration public reaction to the new rules, which had capped access at about 3,000.
The policy was announced on Dec. 30, and according to an Indy Star report, 'was viewed by some as an attempt to stifle the union protests against the “right to work' legislation, which bans companies and unions from negotiating a contract that requires non-members to pay fees. Daniels and GOP legislative leaders have made its passage their top priority this session."
According to the report, Daniels said it will be up to the Indiana State Police to decide whether to reduce the massive police presence at the building. "While traditionally a handful of state police are posted at entrances and exits to the building, and in key places such as the governor’s office, today — the opening day of the legislative session — there were dozens of police, some with guard dogs, inside and outside the building. Long lines of the public, most of them union members here to protest the so-called “right to work” legislation,” queued outside the east entrance, the only door open to the general public," the report said.
Lobbyists, reporters with ID badges and those with scheduled visits such as tour groups had expedited entry through the west entrance. But police said the protests of 2011 convinced them they needed stronger security policies in the building.
Lawmakers also supported the move, said the report. “After conferring with the Governor’s office this morning regarding access to the Statehouse, I fully support the Governor in removing the cap on public access to the Statehouse," said House Speaker Brian Bosma in a prepared statement. “There is a fine balance between public access and public safety, and we need to assure that both of these issues are met. I am pleased that we have decided to open up the Statehouse and err on the side of public access. Without the public, we don’t have a democracy.”