IBJNews

Daniels rescinds crowd limits at Indiana Statehouse

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels on Wednesday rescinded new Statehouse security rules that put a 3,000-person limit on the number of people allowed in the building at any one time.

Daniels said he told state police to return to past practices of allowing all visitors into the Statehouse after they've cleared security checkpoints. The Republican governor said state police and the state fire marshal raised valid public safety concerns about large crowds inside the building, but he decided it was important to keep as much public access as possible as the Legislature begins its 2012 session.

"If there comes a point where safety and security seems to be in jeopardy, they have my authority to do something different," Daniels said.

The new limits announced last week would have capped the number of Statehouse visitors at about 1,300 because it took into account 1,700 people who work there or who have access passes, including about 250 lobbyists.

State Fire Marshal James Greeson had defended the capacity limit Tuesday, saying it was based on how quickly the building could be evacuated. He said his staff calculated that with the four exits on the main floor of the 1880s Statehouse, up to 3,200 people could get out within about five minutes.

The new policy was heavily criticized by Democrats, who said the move was politically motivated. Labor union leaders and Democrats argued they believed the capacity limit was intended to frustrate people who wanted to visit the Statehouse to protest the Republican-backed right-to-work proposal being considered.

"This was a unilateral action meant to restrict free speech," Indiana AFL-CIO spokesman Jeff Harris said. "The people rose up and complained and he finally listened."

Daniels said he wasn't involved in prompting consideration of the capacity limit and other tighter security rules on what visitors could bring into the building.

"We should error on the side of openness and hope there's not a problem," Daniels said. "If one develops, then we'll look at that."
 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • State House limits
    Gov. Daniels should have stayed the course. The purpose of occupation is to intentionally disrupt what's going on. Maybe 8K or 10K should be allowed inside. Who will answer when a few get killed, crippled, or injured. Remember the winds took down the rigging at the State Fair last summer. The same persons crying freedom of speech today will be singing an entirely different song with their attorney at their side should things go wrong inside the State House.
  • Limit smelled of politics
    If it was really an issue of Public Safety, why did it take over 123 to discover it?

    Announcing the limit at the start of the session (with no time for public comment or discussion) makes it appear very suspect.
  • Where's the Fire Marshall
    My business has capacities due to fire codes, why in the world wouldn't we have a capacity on Government public space such as the State House? Who is in charge? Governor needs to think safety instead of perception.
  • The law is the law...
    I thought the same thing... when there IS a problem, and not everyone can get out, those in charge will be criticized for not addressing the problem. It's akin to the state fair collapse.... how many would have complained had the officials evacuated the grounds due to 'possible' weather?
  • More room for all
    When the Dems "walk out" again over right-to-work, we'll have plenty of room for all the protesters.
  • The law is the law?
    So if a problem happens and people are hurt, who's fault is it? The governor? The democrats? The unions? The fire marshal's rulings are obeyed at private buildings but not a public building?

    Post a comment to this story

    COMMENTS POLICY
    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
     
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
     
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
     
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
     
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
     

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    ADVERTISEMENT

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
     
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

    2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

    3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

    4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

    5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

    ADVERTISEMENT