OLYMPIA, Wash. — The 105-day session of the Washington state Legislature began Monday under tight security and the assistance of the National Guard.
On Monday morning, state troopers said at least two arrests have been made. A woman was taken into custody around 8:30 a.m. after troopers said she used an RV to block the road and refused to move, creating a security concern.
A 30-year-old Everett man was also arrested around 11 a.m. after attempting to enter the restricted area and “failing to comply with a lawful order.” State troopers announced later in the day that officials believe he is also one of the people who breached the governor’s mansion last week.
The Washington State Capitol is under the tightest security anyone can remember because of complaints from some who are upset about the limited access to state legislators.
“And they threatened to come overtake the building or come into and disrupt the proceedings,” said Chris Loftis, spokesman for the Washington State Patrol.
He said this extraordinary sight is the result: The state Capitol encircled by fencing, fortified with the recently activated National Guard and troopers from around the state.
“We don’t want to see a disruption to the democratic process,” Loftis said. “We certainly don’t want to see what happened in Washington, D.C., repeated.”
What they don’t want repeated is this assault and incursion on Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. and a breach of the governor’s mansion.
Some protesters at Capitol Campus on Sunday did not approve of the security measures.
“So if you are going to condemn all of us as guilty until proven innocent, that’s not what this country was founded on by any means,” said Jessica Karraker of We Of Liberty. “And so seeing that fence was very disappointing.”
Loftis said all of this ensures the people’s business can be conducted safely.
“The business of democracy is gonna happen in our state House,” he said. “It’s not going to be interrupted.”
The legislators will be allowed inside the building and will vote to conduct most of the legislative session remotely.
When asked how long the fencing will stay up around the Capitol, Loftis said, “As long as necessary.”
On Sunday, Washington State Patrol released photos of fencing being put up around the legislative buildings.