Opposing a new policy limiting protestors’ access to the state Capitol, House Democratic leaders announced today they were joining state Reps. Attica Scott and George A. Brown, Jr.’s request asking for an Attorney General’s opinion on the legality of such a change.
“The Capitol is the People’s House, so efforts to keep anyone from entering, especially during normal business hours, is something that should not be tolerated,” House Democratic Leader Rocky Adkins said this morning. “House Democratic Caucus Chair Dennis Keene, House Democratic Whip Wilson Stone and I are proud to add our names to the letter that our legislative colleagues sent to Attorney General Andy Beshear last week, because we believe an opinion from his office will show that this new restriction violates First Amendment rights. We need to return to the previous security measures, which provided the proper balance between safety and access. If changes are to be made, they at least need to be vetted publicly and not applied arbitrarily.”
Reps. Scott and Brown’s letter to the Attorney General was sent after Kentucky State Police limited Capitol access last week – and again this past Monday – to the Poor People’s Campaign, a national effort built on the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. On both days, just two protesters were allowed to enter at a time, with others not allowed until the two exited. The campaign’s organizers said nothing like that had occurred before in other state capitols.
“Simply put, the people of Kentucky have a constitutional right to make their voices heard within our Capitol,” Leader Adkins said. “We should accept nothing less.”