State police remind people to be civil during upcoming legislative session
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BOISE — The Idaho State Police are asking people to respect the rules for the upcoming 2021 legislative session.
On Wednesday, ISP published a letter reminding people of established rules at the State Capitol building. The letter comes after a year of behavior at the capitol to led to the arrest of multiple people.
While the Capitol building is open to the public each year, the legislators establish the rules and etiquette “designed to enable both the safety of public order and spirit of political debate,” according to ISP. People are able to view the rules on the state’s website.
“Violations of the rules of decorum will result in action, which could include being arrested and/or trespassed from the premises,” ISP said in the news release.
Such was the case for political activist Ammon Bundy. Troopers arrested the Emmett man twice in less than 24 hours during August’s special legislative session. The state banned Bundy from the building for a year.
Others among Bundy shouted and pushed their way into a room that had limited seating due to COVID-19. Disruptions throughout the session led to the arrest and trespass of several other people.
Concerns over COVID-19 remain in place. ISP urges people to wear face coverings and respect the rules established to maintain social distancing. Public health rules could reduce the seating capacity.
Earlier this month, Governor Brad Little told IdahoEdNews.org that legislatures should strongly consider delaying the upcoming session or move to a remote setting. Little cited the increasing number of deaths and cases across Idaho.
“This (Statehouse) building is a pretty good petri dish for transmissible moments of COVID,” Little said. “I would advise my separate but equal legislative branch to seriously consider it.”
As of Friday, the legislative session is still expected to begin on Jan. 11. Typical public hours for the building are from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to ISP. Little’s State of the State address is also still scheduled for that day.
“The Idaho State Capitol has, for decades, been a symbol of hope and resolve,” ISP said in the letter. “Idahoans have a long history of peaceful assembly and participation in their government, and we recognize maintaining public order in the people’s house is essential in ensuring productive debate, peaceful demonstration, and all processes essential to American democracy.”