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Video shows armed man burglarizing desks on House floor, Admin chief says without new rules state can’t stop him

State Department of Administration Director Teresa Luna showed two video clips to the House State Affairs Committee this morning, one of a man dressed in white and openly carrying a sidearm rifling through lawmakers’ desks on the House floor during a public tour on Jan. 10, and one of a woman dressed as a clown demanding to know precisely what rule prevented her from hanging a banner from the rotunda railing. Luna said the man dressed in white had attended an ACLU “Know Your Rights at the Capitol” meeting, then joined a Boy Scout tour of the house. “This man begins to go through desks,” Luna said, as the video played. “He takes things out of the trash.” He uses his cell phone to photograph documents. She said, “Right now, because there are no rules, our only recourse in dealing with this gentleman is just to politely ask him to stop what he is doing.”

Then she showed video of a rally in which people dressed as clowns and carrying protest signs entered the rotunda, with an extended exchange between the woman and security guards. “What’s the rule that says I can’t do that?” the woman asks the guard. “Can you tell me the exact rule?” She continues hanging her banner.

Luna said, “So, Mr. Chairman, I think that shows you what we are dealing with. We are facing that behavior, whether it’s inside the Capitol, outside the Capitol, other Capitol Mall properties, interior and exterior. That is becoming a normal behavior. While we used to go up and say, ‘Please don’t hang things on the rotunda railings, we don’t allow that,’ and people would politely stop what they’re doing, that is now just not the case. … Rules are the only thing we have that carries the force of law.”

Committee members were quiet after viewing the videos. Then, they asked Luna to address the rules , and began asking questions about some of their details.

The new rules are in three dockets, but none of them affect the interior of the state Capitol. They deal only with the exterior of the Capitol Mall; the interior of buildings on the Capitol Mall other than the state Capitol; and the Capitol exterior, including the steps.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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