Capitol Facilities and Security
They are often called the "temples of democracy." State capitols or state houses are the places where the legislatures tend to the business of the people. The beauty and grandeur of these buildings add an air of importance to the work that takes place there.
In order to conduct the business of the legislature, the capitol buildings must be maintained, upgraded to accommodate current technology, and secured to ensure that the public, and the occupants are safe to conduct state business.
State legislatures face great expectations for public access to government services and they have given high priority to delivering these services to promote a government readily accessible and responsive to its citizens. The significance of these efforts serves as a reminder of the balance that must be maintained between public safety for legislators and staff while also encouraging citizen participation in the legislative process.
(Colorado Capitol photo courtesy Carissa Warnock)
Capitol Restoration and Space Utilization
In the late 1960s and early 1970s a number of violent events caused legislatures to implement what might be thought of as the "first wave" of legislative security. Bombings of the Senate Chamber in Louisiana in 1970 and the U.S. Capitol in 1971 and anti-war demonstrations in numerous capitols across the country led to widespread concern for the safety of legislators, legislative staff and the public. In response, numerous state legislatures began to tighten security. These security measures were revisited following the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City; and again following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Since 1973, NCSL's National Legislative Services and Security Association (NLSSA) has provided training to its members in security issues unique to the legislature.
Continuity of Government
Maintaining continuity of government during emergency situations is of growing concern to the states. Many legislatures have enacted legislation that provides clear instruction for lines of succession should members of the legislature or other elected officials be unable to perform their duties. They may also direct the relocation of state or local government when necessary.
State Plans (These pages are located on public websites.)
Presentations from past NCSL meetings