(Ed. note: This version corrects an erroneous headline and misinterpretation in the original post.)I couldn't be happier to learn that state officials reversed course and decided to allow visitors to the capitol to use all four entrances, but it's regrettable the Lege is still moving forward with airport-style security at each of them. Reports the Statesman's Mike Ward:
In an about-face from earlier plans, once when airport-style security checkpoints are installed, average Texans will still be able to get into the Capitol through all four entrances as they have been able to do for 122 years.
That was the new word from Texas Department of Public Safety officials when state employees were briefed behind closed doors Thursday about the ramped-up security, according to several employees who asked not to be quoted by name for fear of job reprisals.
As the news leaked out, staffers, lobbyists and taxpayers who frequently visit the domed landmark applauded the change from earlier plans to allow the public only to enter on the north, tour groups to enter on the south and staffers to enter on the east and west sides. The earlier plan quickly drew howls from lobbyists and some lawmakers as being too restrictive.
Let me join in offering a relieved "thank you" to whichever public officials changed their minds.
UPDATE: Well, not so fast. Somehow I'd skipped over this tidbit:
security checkpoints would initially feature only walk-through metal detectors manned by state officers. X-ray machines to scan packages and purses will be installed later, after Capitol wiring is upgraded at the entrances to handle the additional equipment.
So they're allowing people to enter through all four doors but retaining the metal detectors and planning to install xrays down the line. This will be bad enough, creating long lines and needless frustrations going to and fro during crunch time next spring. Limiting access to the north entrance would have been a nightmare.
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