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New security measures set for South Dakota Capitol

Beginning Jan. 13, visitors to the South Dakota Capitol will have to go through a security...
Beginning Jan. 13, visitors to the South Dakota Capitol will have to go through a security screening. (KOTA TV) (KOTA)
Published: Jan. 3, 2020 at 11:29 AM CST
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New security measures at South Dakota’s Capitol building will be in place Monday, Jan. 13; a day before the 2020 Legislative Session begins.

The safety measures include a security screening process.

“The new safety measures we’re implementing are proactive steps to protecting the Capitol and everyone who uses it,” said Department of Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Craig Price. “These improvements will enhance public safety while preserving the accessibility of our statehouse.”

People who frequently are at the Capitol can apply for an access pass through the South Dakota Highway Patrol. The application process takes about five business days to process and includes a state background check. People can apply for the pass beginning Monday, Jan. 6.

“These security measures are not designed to restrict the public’s access to the Capitol, but to be as least intrusive as possible,” added Price. “We want people to be able to get through the screening quickly while also keeping the Capitol safe for all South Dakotans.”

People with the Capitol Access pass will enter the security room where they will show their pass to the security staff. Once approved, the card holder will not have to go through the screening process. The Capitol Access pass is valid until Dec. 31 each year and will have to be renewed yearly.

“Our state Capitol is the people’s house, and this project ensures everyone who visits the building has a safe, positive experience while enjoying its historic beauty,” said Gov. Kristi Noem. “Safety is always our top priority, and this modernized approach to Capitol security will help us best serve the hundreds of kids and thousands of visit the Capitol every year."

Applications for the Capitol Access Pass are available at the South Dakota Highway Patrol Office at 118 W. Capital Ave. in Pierre; the Highway Patrol Capitol Security office at the north entrance of the state Capitol or on the Bureau of Administration website at

The security room will be staffed each day, including weekends, during the Capitol’s regular open hours. The Capitol’s hours of operation during the legislative session are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday (or when gaveled out if later) and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Hours of operation during the rest of the year are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.