State capitols across the nation are stepping up security, and deploying National Guard units, SWAT teams and extra police officers as several legislatures convened amid heightened safety concerns following last week’s violence at the U.S. Capitol.
After insurrectionists backing President Donald Trump overran the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, some governors and lawmakers began ramping up security because of online threats suggesting that more mobs could target state capitols.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee activated hundreds of National Guard troops to help state police keep order at the state Capitol and defend security fencing. At the Georgia Capitol, a state patrol SWAT team walked the perimeter wearing fatigues and carrying rifles while lawmakers gathered inside for the start of a two-year term. In Idaho, doors to the House and Senate chambers were locked Monday morning, and two Idaho state troopers were stationed at each entrance.
Legislatures convened in more than half a dozen states. Because of concerns about the coronavirus, many state capitols had already adopted procedures to curb the potential for large crowds, including arranging for lawmakers to meet remotely. Those steps greatly reduced the number of people who are actually working in capitol buildings.
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