Last Wednesday’s deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol left the country stunned and with a lot of questions, and we’re learning that there could be additional violence. The FBI has warned of preparations at every state capital as well as Washington, D.C. for armed protests in the time between now and next Wednesday, when President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated.
Both Democratic Sen. Reynold Nesiba and Republican Rep. Rhonda Milstead, who each represent Minnehaha County in the South Dakota state legislature in Pierre, say they feel safe in the Capitol. Each lawmaker brings up a security component designed not to catch your eye.
“The South Dakota Highway Patrol provides security for us, we have uniformed officers that are throughout the Capitol, at the front door of the Capitol, and we also have people that are not in uniform, that are also providing security for us, and so I do feel secure,” Nesiba said.
“The Highway Patrol is there, they’re undercover and they’re there in uniform, and I’m very confident in their abilities,” Milstead said. “We have very intelligent people working for the Department of Public Safety, and we have very skilled people working, so yes I do feel safe.”
Visitors go through the capitol’s north doors.
“Everybody has to go through security,” Nesiba said. “We do have metal detectors there … that it is a far more secure place. And I lament that at the same time, right? This should be the people’s house, people should come visit.”
“I am comfortable and very proud of our state and proud to be up here and honored to be doing the people’s business,” Milstead said.
Nesiba offers some advice if you’re planning to be a part of the session.
“If you are coming to visit or to testify on a bill this legislative session, please allow more time to be able to get through the security line,” Nesiba said.
The South Dakota legislative session begins Tuesday. Gov. Kristi Noem will give the State of the State address on Tuesday as well.