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Noem Clamps Down on Capitol Access: HP Will Search Everyone at the Door

Kristi Noem didn’t get to fence in the Governor’s Mansion, but she’s doing something worse: she’s locking own the Capitol. She already shut the grand front door, forcing everyone to come in the rear. Now she’s going to subject every Capitol visitor to a warrantless earchsearch:

“The South Dakota State Capitol is the People’s House,” recites Department of Public Safety Curtis Price. But I don’t frisk and scan everyone who enters my house. And it doesn’t take five minutes to get into my house—that’s the amount of time the new guidance recommends you allow for your participation in security theater.

I’m minorly annoyed to see Governor Noem again violate her promise to fight government bloat. The new search-and-seizure point at the Brown County Courthouse requires three full-time guards who draw $166,000 a year in salary. A serious effort to slow down grouchy people on their way to Princess Noem’s throne room (and perhaps call the Governor to let her know certain people are coming so she can duck out and avoid their visit) will surely cost at least as much.

Republicans say they want less government, but they want a more powerful surveillance state when it suits their fears and whims and overinflated sense of majesty.

I am immensely sad to see this desecration of our Temple of Democracy. The most beautiful and important building in our state does not need armed police searching every entrant any more than it needs legislators or other yahoos sneaking around with pistols in their pants.

The only slightly less dark side of the locking down of our Capitol is that we will now have accountability for legislators and other fraidy-cats who put our security at risk by toting guns in the Capitol. Sharp reporters interested in public safety and chickens could station themselves just outside the checkpoint and document every legislator who sets off the scanner and has to deconceal a gun to get through the door. Of course, if the reporters have other issues to cover in the Capitol, they could just ask DPS to hand over the records of Capitol-carry requests, which must be made at least 24 hours before carrying a gun into the Capitol.

But that’s little comfort as we watch the Ice Princess put armed guards between us and herself and our legislators to unreasonably search and seize citizens entering their own House of Democracy.


  1. Mark 2019-11-01 08:48

    You can certainly understand this move by our Governor. She is paranoid and seems to be making decisions from that
    I would never carry a firearm into the
    Capitol even if I had one , but I sure
    would crap on her desk if I had the chance.

  2. o 2019-11-01 09:15

    Sometimes it feels like – wittingly or not – moves like this normalize the police state, siege mentality. I think of how our public schools have succumbed to this Orwellian, ominous mentality. I don’t think these moves make folks feel more safe, I think they entrench fear.

  3. Donald Pay 2019-11-01 10:26

    Ridiculous. Having long lines of people cued up in the rear of the Capitol is a far greater security risk for those people. Anyone could mow those folks down. I think that’s the key here. She doesn’t care about anyone but herself. If Cleopatra Noem wants centurions, maybe she should pay for them herself. She could station them inside a walled office inside the Capitol. Her delusions of grandeur shouldn’t be at taxpayers expense, and she shouldn’t be allowed to put others at risk just because she is a paranoid schizophrenic. There’s medication for that problem that would be less costly than an armed militia.

  4. Not Mrs. Nelson Anymore 2019-11-01 13:46

    Well this is a giant waste of resources…

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-11-01 13:58

    Curious, Not Mrs. Nelson Anymore: how much law enforcement value is there in a checkpoint like this?

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-11-01 13:59

    O, I’m with you 100%. The image this checkpoint sends is terribly demoralizing. As your next Governor, I promise to immediately order the dismantling of this checkpoint and the reopening of the Capitol’s front door.

  7. Mike B 2019-11-01 16:52

    This is not surprising at all. It’s a matter of safety. Public access to schools are very much controlled. Why would the capitol building be any different?
    My job requires me to have a key card for access to my place of employment.
    You cannot blame the governor for this. It is a reflection of the times we live in. Look on any news channel and you will see desperate souls trying to inflict pain on others.

  8. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-11-01 18:08

    Kristi just wants to be twitterpate45. Her new mandate is similar to that which governs those who want to visit the residence and center of power for the twitterpate.

    It is, of course, unnecessary in SoDak, although it is possible, under current regs, for a person to walk into the Capitol armed and walk to the guv’s office and shoot anyone who appears in front of him/her.

    I wonder how things would have gone for my friend, Bob Newland, when he and a group of friends announced their intention and appeared in April of 2005, or thereabouts, to plant hemp seeds in the Capitol flowerbeds. On that occasion, there was no appearance of Power. The group planted, photographed, and left.

    If it saves just one governor…

  9. Pris 2019-11-01 18:24

    What is she afraid of? Has she gotten some threats to her safety? Understandably, she has upset almost every demographic in this state since she moved into the mansion. Why can’t she just get a metal detector like all the courtrooms in the state have? Why is HP frisking the average Joe/Joleen? So lawmakers can run around in the capitol slinging their firearms, but their constituents have to get frisked? Will she tell us why she wants everyone to get a friskin’? So much for transparency, the only thing transparent is her fear of the the citizens.

  10. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-11-01 18:49

    This is a symptom of the new paradigm. Suspect everyone of being a potential criminal. Make everyone fear everyone else. Enforce these mindframes by searching people whenever possible (and it will become more possible as the paradigm expands).

    When a suspect item is found during a search, it will become an icon of why the searches are necessary, thus helping to expand the mindframe.

    Thus, a chickens**t governor in a chickens**t state becomes an icon for Christ.

  11. mike from iowa 2019-11-01 18:49

    Why does this remind me of the time columnist Jack Anderson walked into Senator Bob Dole’s senate office with a .45 and freaked Dole out?

  12. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-11-01 19:28

    I wouldn’t know, MFI.

  13. Loren 2019-11-01 19:56

    Well, the GOP CinC likes to “frisk” people. Maybe it’s a Republican thing.

  14. Debbo 2019-11-01 21:21

    Most county seats in Minnesota have security. A few years ago a man walked in and shot the states attorney in a small northern county. That galvanized a call for more security at all of them.

    It’s not that big a thing to have to go through a security system. It’s usually pretty quick, boom, you’re done. Yeah, shocking as this is, I’m with NoMa’am on this. There should be more security because the capitol is the target for disgruntled or crazy anybody. It’s better to do this before, rather than as a Never Again action.

    Why is the big entrance closed? That’s the most grandiose and impressive side.

  15. Nick Nemec 2019-11-02 05:44

    The completely insane part of this is that you can carry a firearm into the building if you give notice of your intent to do so, and in SD anyone can carry a firearm without a permit.

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-11-02 07:13

    Yes I can blame the Governor for this. There is no evidence that the Capitol is a dangerous place. The only increased danger comes from Noem’s signing of the law allowing guns in the Capitol.

  17. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-11-02 07:16

    Debbo, I consider it a big thing. Symbolically, my government is saying, “We don’t trust you. We consider you a threat. Even though we have no probable cause or reasonable suspicion based on anything we have done, we are going to search you without a warrant.”

    The closing of the big entrance was likely a prelude to this move. Liberty is taken away bit by bit, so people don’t notice.

  18. Donald Pay 2019-11-02 07:33

    Scott Walker tried to do a similar thing. The courts wouldn’t allow it. After 9/11 there was extra security and only one useable entrance in Wisconsin’s Capitol Building. That lasted about six months. Yes, some county courthouses have such security, but it is a huge hassle. Our county did away with it.

    The best security is strict gun laws.

  19. Debbo 2019-11-02 14:42

    I agree that strict gun laws are best and allow anyone other than LE to bring weapons into the building is an enormous security breach.

  20. grudznick 2019-11-03 13:10

    Mr. Pay, if there are threats to queues of people being mowed down, perhaps by tractor trailer combinations like that in Maximum Overdrive, or by the array of shooters lurking around the Capitol grounds, wouldn’t only the former mowing-down call for faster queue movement, and the latter call for nobody being allowed in at all?

    I am sure that Mr. H can spend a few minutes in line, chatting civilly with the other rabble-rousers, on his visits to the legislatures.

    You know who this will anger the most? The legislatures themselves and those who lobby them professionally, sitting around all day with coffee and free newspapers and eating the free lunches.

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