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FDLE wants to crack down on after-hours-lingerers at the Capitol

In what appears to be a crack-down aimed at preventing another peaceful sit-in the governor's lobby, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has announced a plan to remove any members of the public in the Capitol by 5:30 p.m. each day, according to a report by the News Service of Florida. 

What about those after hours meetings between lobbyists and staff? Hmmm. 

Here's more:

By BRANDON LARRABEE
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, September 20, 2013..........State police plan to limit after-hours access to the Capitol in an effort to avoid a repeat of the month-long occupation of Gov. Rick Scott's office over the summer by protesters pushing for changes to Florida's self-defense laws.

Under the proposal by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, members of the public would be expected to leave the Capitol building by 5 p.m. each weekday or within 30 minutes of the end of public meetings. Capitol police could arrest for trespassing anyone who didn't leave when they were told.

No one could stay overnight or prepare food in publicly accessible parts of the Capitol. There would also be additional restrictions on those who have cards allowing them to access the building and how many people could accompany them.

"The suggested changes are directed at enabling Capitol Police to better secure the Capitol building complex property, safeguard those who work and visit within the Capitol and ensure security services are provided in the most efficient manner," according to a document outlining the changes.

FDLE released a summary of the proposal to the Tallahassee Democrat after the paper sent in an open-records request. The News Service of Florida requested the document after the Democrat reported on it.

The agency says the full plan is shielded under the state's open-records law, but it released the outline "in the spirit of honoring the request." The proposal would still have to be approved by Gov. Rick Scott, Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel. The state fire marshal is also supposed to be consulted.

"At this juncture we have just begun submitting areas of recommended changes to these parties which will be subject to discussions and modifications prior to final decisions being reached in the near future," the FDLE outline says.

Neither Weatherford nor Gaetz has seen the plan yet, according to their offices. A spokeswoman for Scott referred questions to FDLE.

The plan comes after a group known as the Dream Defenders staged a 31-day sit-in at the Capitol following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The Dream Defenders demanded changes to state laws on self defense, school discipline and racial profiling.

Rep. Alan Williams, a Tallahassee Democrat who worked with the group, said he understood the need to secure the Capitol but didn't think a "Dream Defender rule" was necessary. Williams said it was also important to make sure Floridians could be heard by state officials.

"I would hope that we ensure that our citizens of the state of Florida continue to have that opportunity before this rule is implemented," he said.

Comments

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whasup

Um ... so ... if a citizen travels to Tallahassee to see their representative or senator who can't fit them into a schedule before 5:30, they'll be kicked out by the cops. Great plan!

I can't wait for the first group of little old ladies or school kids to be in the Capitol after hours waiting to see some government official, maybe to get a picture, and the cops "kick their asses out" as Jeb used to say.

How much fun is it going to be when the first reporter still working after 5:30 in the capitol to post three stories generated by the legislature after 3 pm gets kicked out. That'll be a fun headline: "Capitol Cops Shut Down Press Reporting!"

What this will do is created a system that treats lobbyists and reporters as more important and special than ordinary citizens. Great idea!

Robert Jenkins

Not to mention the Constitutional right to peacefully assemble, freedom of speech, the right to redress "our" govermnent. Yes, I really hate to say this; but this is shades of late 1930's Germany. Can you imagine if a Jewish person like me was found after hours? Floriduh has been controled by the G.O.P. for many years now; can anyone truthfully show any upside to that? 49th in health insurance coverage, behind so many other States in education, a Kill who you will gun law,being proven to be the "most" politically corrupt state in America. Quite the legacy for the G.O.P. and past Governors.Just a few more facts: A Lt. Governor forced to resign, another Education Commissioner who had to resign, the R.P.O.F hired Allied Strategies to fraudulently register "only" Republican voters, David Rivera, Greer,Sampson,Citizens Insurance in sambles; but spending 1oo's and 1,000's of dollars to show how bad they manage disater insurance. I could go on and on; but everyone knows (FDLE) , and as long as their pockets are lined; they will look the other way.

Redundant

Why not just shut the Capital permanently. Let the big three, Scott, Gaetz, and Weatherford meet at the mansion. They call the shots the rest is window dressing.

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