Attempt To Bypass Capitol Metal Detectors Fails

Bill Would Have Allowed Lobbyists To Pay Fee, Undergo Background Check, Skip Security Lines

An attempt to allow some people to bypass security at the state Capitol has failed. A bill to allow lobbyists to not have to go through metal detectors to enter the Capitol was voted down in a legislative committee Tuesday afternoon. Rep. Larry Liston, R-Colorado Springs, wanted to allow lobbyists to be able to pay a fee, undergo a background check and get a pass to avoid having to wait in security lines.

"I did not realize there were going to be this many people wanting to testify, obviously I’ve ripped open a scab," Liston said.

One person who testified against the legislation referred to hearing the bill called the "Lexus lane for the lobbyists."

"I don’t think this is an overly burdensome requirement," said one lobbyist about going through metal detectors.

Background checks would only be conducted every three years, even though lobbyists would be able to renew the pass every year. The fee would have cost lobbyists $20 ($3 for the badge and $17 for the background check). The fee would have also included a surcharge of up to $300. Lobbyists would have been able to renew their badge annually for $50, plus another surcharge of up to $300, but not have to go through an annual background check. The money would have gone to the legislative department cash fund. According to Liston, that money would have been spent on telecommunications equipment and wireless Internet for use inside the Capitol.

Some media members who work exclusively out of the Capitol can access the building without having to go through security daily. 7NEWS employees must go through security when going inside the Capitol.

"This isn’t about inequality, it’s about security," said lobbyist Becky Brooks.

When you go to the Capitol, you have to go through one of two basement entrances. Metal detectors were installed after an armed man entered the Capitol in July 2007, demanding to see the governor. Aaron Snyder, 32, of Thornton was shot and killed by a Colorado State Patrol Trooper. Metal detectors had been at the Capitol after the Sept. 11 attacks, but taken down again in July 2002. Traditionally, they were up at entrances for the governor’s State-of-the-State address.

At DIA, you used to be able to use a "Clear" pass. The "Clear Lane" allowed airline passengers to pay a fee, undergo a background check and receive a pass to get through security more quickly. The pass was discontinued on June 23, 2009.