OLYMPIA -- State senators who left the Capitol for their offices or to grab a bite to eat during a break in floor action Thursday returned to find the building on a lockdown and closed to the public more than an hour after protesters were arrested outside the governor's office.
No one without a magnetic stripe key card that operates the automatic locks was immediately allowed in. That meant lobbyists, any legislator or staff member who'd left an ID card on a desk, and, of course the general public
That didn't sit well with Senate Democrats, including Majority Leader Lisa Brown of Spokane, who said she'd been at a meeting with the governor, General Administration and the State Patrol after the arrests and no one mentioned a lock down.Senate Democrats refused to resume floor action until the doors were unlocked.
Just because some people were disruptive doesn't mean everyone else interested in peacefully exercising their free speech rights should be locked out, Brown said.
The Legislature is heading into the final weeks of the session and Democrats would not be "conducting public business while the proceedings were closed to the public," she said.
Friday morning Brown said she thinks the lines of communication between the Legislature and the governor's office were improved for anything that might be considered in response to today's protests.