Raleigh, N.C. — A provision in the House budget would set aside $325,000 over the next two years to "create positions and establish a security team to assist with protection of the General Assembly's property."
Unlike many statehouses around the U.S., North Carolina's has no security measures in place to screen visitors. Hundreds of schoolchildren visit on an average day, as do hundreds of lobbyists, advocates and constituents. Republican legislative leaders considered adding metal detectors after taking power in 2011, but they decided it would be too costly.
The Legislative Building and Legislative Office Building are currently guarded by a small law enforcement department, the General Assembly Police, but some lawmakers have said for years they believe the two buildings need better security.
"There has been much concern about the physical security of the complex," said Rep. George Cleveland, R-Onslow, chairman of the budget committee for general government operations. "It is my understanding that this team will work on that problem."
Cleveland didn't clarify how the new team's role would differ from that of the General Assembly Police, but he said he doesn't expect the new security team to be part of the existing force.
"I would think they would be separate," he responded via email, adding, "I have had no talks concerning the actual structure."
The House budget is expected to be completed and approved by the end of the week.