This morning DFL Gov. Mark Dayton said he plans to ask House and Senate leaders to meet with him to review security at the state Capitol in the wake of Saturday's shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
"I think it behooves us all to discuss this and get the assessment of the professionals who are responsible for the safety and protection of us," he said.
Dayton made the comments after he, Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon and the governor's staff observed a moment of silence at 10 a.m. in memory of the victims of the Arizona shooting. Dayton said he has met with Capitol security and does feel that overall security at the Capitol complex is sound. But a report by the legislative auditor in 2009 found problems with the security at the Capitol and recommended several changes including hiring more staff. In the wake of the report, the previous legislature approved spending an addition $1.2 million on Capitol security.
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, said she believes there is a need to take a closer look at Capitol security.
"There are some concerns on security. I think we're going to have to review that," she said.
But she added it is a balancing act and lawmakers would not want to do anything that would discourage people from coming to the Capitol, which she called "The Peoples' House."
Dayton said he does not plan to change how he conducts his business and said he is perfectly willing to allow those with dissenting views to attend events in the Governor's Reception Room as long as they are respectful. He did say that any political rhetoric that incites people to commit violence or threatens the physical safety of public officials and their staff should not be tolerated. Dayton said he personally does not like the idea of adding metal detectors at the Capitol. Koch said there is no opinion on that within her caucus.