Accessing the State Capitol should be a little bit easier today. The Department of Administration has released revised procedures for entering the building, following an order from a Dane County judge on Thursday to fully reopen it to the public.
The new rules restrict public access to the North and South wing doors, limit protesters to the ground floor area of the rotunda, and bans sleeping materials, musical instruments or noisemakers, and cooking appliances.
The State Capitol will remain open during normal business hours, which are 8am to 6pm Monday through Friday and 8am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday. Hours will also be extended if the Legislature is in session or committee hearings go beyond normal business hours.
The rules also prohibit people from putting up new signs or removing any of those currently on walls in the building. DOA says those already up must be professionally removed to protect surfaces in the Capitol. Early estimates put the cost of removing tape adhesives and restoring the building’s stonework at around $7.5 million.
Officials note that some of the policies may change by next week, as the Department works on a permanent plan to issue permits for groups holding rallies inside the building. The judge’s order did note the state has a right to manage the massive crowds that have been gathering inside the Capitol and to prevent people from sleeping there overnight.