Not so long ago, all of the public buildings on Capitol Square were open to the public. Anyone could come and go as they pleased, without showing an ID or emptying their pockets. After 9/11, public access was drastically restricted. Citizens now need an appointment to enter most state office buildings other than the Capitol Building.
To enter the Capitol Building and the Pocahontas Building, members of the public must pass through metal detectors. The screening line can be long at certain times. If you have an appointment or are planning on attending a hearing, it's a good idea to arrive plenty early to give yourself time to clear security.
Under House and Senate rules, the following items are prohibited:
Any device that may disrupt the conduct of business, including but not limited to voice-amplification equipment; bullhorns; blow horns; sirens, or other noise-producing devices; as well as signs on sticks, poles or stakes; or helium-filled balloons.
Effective January 2020, people are not allowed to bring firearms of any type inside the State Capitol Building and the Pocahontas Building. This ban includes no exception for people with valid concealed carry permits. The firearms ban does not apply to the grounds of Capitol Square. Note: These rules are subject to change at any time by the Joint Committee on Rules.
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