When the 2017 Legislative session began, security measures were put in place at the state Capitol because of concern about Dakota Access Pipeline protestors disrupting lawmakers’ work.
Now, the Legislature has decided to make those measures permanent. That means public access will only be allowed through the Capitol’s south doors. That entrance will have permanent metal detectors, and will have Highway Patrol officers armed with tasers.
"I know some of us in this chamber hearken back to the days when we were very proud about the openness, when we could come and go and not have to worry about it," said Rep. Mike Nathe (R-Bismarck). "Times have changed."
Nathe told the House the Patrol security officers have had some incidents during the past few months.
"They've had at least three separate people come and say they had firearms and returned to their vehicles," Nathe said. "They've had people come to the checkpoint, see the metal detectors, and turn and walk away. They've had switchblades, knives and anything else you could think of."
The money to make that checkpoint permanent is in the Highway Patrol’s budget bill. It is now on its way to Gov. Burgum.