MADISON - The tight security at the State Capitol violates Madison’s fire code. Fire inspectors have told the Walker administration that some of the six locked entry doors at the Capitol do not open freely from the inside. And there were not adequate signs pointing to the exits that do work.
Administration spokeswoman Carla Vigue says her agency is addressing the problems, including an upgrade of magnetic locks. But Lori Wirth of the Madison Fire Department said she was told the issues would only be resolved once a court case is finished concerning the Capitol’s public access. State unions say the administration is ignoring a judge’s order from March to restore full access to the Capitol. The administration says there are too many safety risks, as protests continue over the bill to limit collective bargaining by public employee unions. Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch says there are no plans to reduce security until the union bill is resolved. But Huebsch might not have a choice, as another court hearing is scheduled for today.
Only two of the Capitol’s eight entrances are open to the public. Visitors must go through metal detectors and get checked out by police. Technically, Madison fire officials do not have building code enforcement powers at the Capitol. But they do conduct safety inspections, and their reports to go the administration department.