After years of leadership and legislative counsel directors opposing electronic security, the Nevada Legislature is getting metal detectors and X-ray machines at its main entrances.
The decision indicates approaching plans to reopen the legislative building, at least partially, to the public and lobbyists.
Legislative Counsel Bureau Director Brenda Erdoes said they are buying three metal detectors plus wands. There will also be an X-ray machine in front.
There will be two metal detectors and an X-ray machine at the rear entrance outside the garage.
Testing will move to a modular unit in the 7th Street parking lot.
Erdoes said the equipment will cost about $100,000. The Legislative Fund contains far more available cash than that.
She said they received some of the equipment in less than two weeks but the detectors won’t go live for some time because of installation and training.
A number of states implemented increased security at legislative buildings after the Jan. 6 riot in Washington, D.C., and threats by Trump allies. There have been incidents at several state capitals, including Oregon and Michigan, where protesters invaded the capital.
The decision to install those devices comes after decades of opposition to any security changes that would limit access by the public from directors including Lorne Malkiewich and Rick Combs, who preceded Erdoes as the head of LCB.
But security experts say things have changed in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and threats to lawmakers and governors of other states.
In a normal legislative session, the legislative building is open and occupied by upward of 500 lobbyists as well as lawmakers and some 300 legislative staff. Access through the first half of the 2021 Legislature has been limited to just lawmakers and staff plus a few members of the press certified to cover the session.
All have been tested and most at this point vaccinated against the coronavirus.