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More Capitol Protests Planned; MSP Will Be “Strictly Enforcing” Rules

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LANSING (WWJ) – Some unions say they’re not waiting until Tuesday’s planned mass protest in Lansing to voice their opinion about right-to-work legislation.

The Michigan Nurses Association is among those planning to protest on the steps of the state Capitol today — with duct tape covering their mouths. Why the duct tape? The group says passing that bill will effectively silence workers across the state.

State Police, meanwhile, say road closures are planned around the Michigan Capitol ahead of anticipated protests about right-to-work legislation.

Police say one road on the west side of the Capitol in Lansing will be closed to vehicle and foot traffic on Monday. And on Tuesday, state police say the city of Lansing plans to close several other area roads to vehicle traffic and parking starting at 6 a.m.

State police say they’ll be “strictly enforcing” rules for use of the state Capitol.

“All of the measures we are taking at the Capitol are to ensure the safety of those working and conducting business in the Capitol and the surrounding state buildings,” stated Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. “Our responsibility includes safeguarding the Constitutional rights of those attempting to petition their legislators, and enforcing these rules allows us to provide a safe forum for everyone.”

Some of the rules that will be enforced include:

· Hours of Operation (interior of Capitol): Visiting hours for the public are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. When either house of the legislature or a legislative committee is in session prior to 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m., or on Saturday, Sunday or a holiday, the building shall be open to the public 30 minutes before commencement of the session and closed 30 minutes after adjournment of the Senate, House of Representatives, or legislative committee.

· Hours of Operation (Capitol grounds): Events or exhibits on the Capitol grounds shall occur between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. on a daily basis, and shall at no time block any entrance or exit of the building, or impede free access to the building by its occupants or the public. When either house of the legislature or legislative committee is in session prior to 6 a.m. or after 11:00 p.m., the grounds shall be open 30 minutes before commencement of the session and closed 30 minutes after adjournment of the Senate, House of Representatives, or legislative committee.

· Public use of the Capitol shall not interfere with any legislative session or the conduct of public business by agencies of the State which normally occupy and use the Capitol, and shall not affect the safety and well-being of the individuals conducting the work of these agencies.

· In case of a fire, bomb threat, utility malfunction, structural failure or other unforeseen emergency or threat endangering public safety or health, the Executive Director of the Michigan Capitol Committee or Capitol security may lock the Capitol at any time and require that entrances be used only as a means of egress in case of emergency. A person shall not enter or attempt to enter through an entrance which is closed pursuant to these conditions until the emergency is over.

· Hand-carried signs and signs on handsticks are not allowed in the public areas inside the Capitol.

· Posting or affixing signs, announcements, or other documents on any exterior or interior wall, ceiling, floor, door, window or other surface of the public areas of the Capitol not designed for that purpose is prohibited. Stickers, labels, tape, or any other adhesive material that might leave a residue or otherwise damage interior or exterior surfaces of the Capitol, including porches, stairs, statuary, monuments, light wells, fences and trees is also prohibited. Likewise, tacks, nails, staples or other attachments may not be used.

· No sound amplifying equipment (including whistles, drums, bull horns, etc.) may be used whose sound level interferes with any legislative session or the conduct of public business by agencies of the State which occupy or use the Capitol.

· Camping or sleeping overnight on the Capitol grounds is not allowed. Sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, and similar bedding items will not be permitted in the Capitol building.

· Packages and briefcases suspected of concealing stolen items or contraband may be inspected. Items being brought into the Capitol may be inspected if suspected to be capable of destructive or disruptive use within the building.

· Proper identification of all employees and any other visitor may be requested at any time after normal working hours. If the facility is closed during an emergency, access may be denied for the duration of the emergency.

· A person who refuses to adhere to any of these conditions is subject, in addition to criminal penalties provided by law, to immediate removal from the Capitol building or grounds, or both, by the Executive Director of the Michigan Capitol Committee, Capitol security, the Legislative Council Facilities Agency (LCFA) Director, or any other person designated by the LCFA Director.

The full procedures for the use of the public areas of the Michigan State Capitol can be found here.

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