Colorado lawmakers are hoping to create a “fast lane” at state capitol security for just $250.
If you’ve ever visited the state capitol — or really any government-run establishment — there is one truth we hold to be self evident: you’re gonna be waiting a while in the security line. While yes, this is for our and our lawmakers’ own safety for each individual to be scanned and screened to enter the capitol, lawmakers are asking for a fast-pass of sorts to alleviate waits for those who visit the building most.
Senate Bill 180116 will grant access to those who are willing to pay the $250 price tag, to enter the capitol and legislative buildings without having to go through a security screening. Along with the $250 bill, those who wish to utilize this proposed “express lane” must also submit fingerprints for a background check to get an ID card.
State Rep. Dave Williams, Colorado Springs (R), and sponsor of this bill, told The Denver Post, “You can use it if you are willing to pay for it. But if not, You can … go through the process as it is now.”
While this would be a great time-saver for frequent visitors, concerns are raised by others who lament a similar bill that applied only to lobbyists back in 2010. The measure ended up failing, after it became known as the “Lexus lane for lobbyists” bill, according to the Denver Post. Yes, this new bill isn’t directed at lobbyists — but it is directed at anyone who is willing to pay $250 and submit a background check.
Overall, supporters of the bill feel that the capitol should be free to the public, and they should make it as easy as possible for people to access the building. Sponsors also claim the hefty price tag (which could climb to as much as $500) is intended to restrict the pass to those who visit the building the most — like, say, lobbyists and activists.
Currently, lawmakers, legislative staff, state employees, and reporters with offices in the capitol have ID cards allowing them to bypass the metal detectors. This motion was passed in 2007, after an armed man entered the capitol and was shot dead outside of former Gov. Bill Ritter’s office. Trooper Josh Lewis, a state patrol spokesman, has shared his concerns for the bill, stating it may limit the patrol’s ability to keep everyone in the building safe.
“The Colorado State Patrol is concerned that Senate Bill 18-116 may limit our ability to provide a safe and secure environment for all persons entering the Capitol Complex. Current security protocol is a best practice based upon lessons from past and current security events” … “As we have seen in the past, it only takes one individual with violent intent to endanger the safety and security of our Capitol. While we are aware that these protocols may momentarily delay a person’s ability to enter the building, the Colorado State Patrol is committed to the safety of legislators, staff members and the public.” — Official Statement, CDPS
There are several lawmakers who have shared the same sentiments regarding a “fast pass” entry to legislative buildings, safety being the resounding concern.
The pass is only available to those without a felony conviction, and the clerks in each chamber may deny cards to those who are considered a safety threat. Many express they would support the bill if the safety issues are addressed a bit better — given the current hassle of entering the buildings.
What do you think about creating “fast pass” access to the state capitol? Yay or nay? We want to hear what you think in the comments!