Madison, Wis. (Learfield) - State officials are backing off from a big damage estimate they gave to a judge yesterday, about the marks left by pro-union demonstrators at the Capitol over the last two weeks. Facilities’ administrator Jeff Plale now says the seven-and-a-half million dollar damage figure is quote, “more of a worst-case scenario.” And without elaborating, he said there are other estimates. Plale toured the Capitol this morning with state architect Dan Stephans. And in the early part of his tour, at least, Plale couldn’t find damage. The administration told Dane County Circuit Judge John Albert that much of the damage might have come from tape used in putting up signs and other items on the Capitol’s delicate marble and stone walls. But reporters said many demonstrators used painters’ tape that designed not to leave marks when it’s removed. Meanwhile, there are still limits on access and heavy security at the Capitol today. But the entry guidelines are looser than what they’ve been all week. That’s after Judge Albert banned overnight camping by demonstrators, while ordering the administration to restore free-and-open access during business hours starting Monday. Two entrances are open for the public, and people must go through metal detectors. There’s also a ban on noise-makers and new wall signs – and protestors must stay on the ground floor. Officials said a Madison woman was arrested this morning for trying to get past the screening area without being checked for banned items.
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