Legislative session begins under tight security; 2 arrested
Updated at 4:10 p.m.: We are keeping an eye on the Capitol in Olympia today as lawmakers convene for the 2021 legislative session. While the focus inside will be on voting whether to meet virtually for this session, the focus outside will be on safety.
Crowds are expected to gather to protest everything from Gov. Inslee’s handling of the COVID shutdown to the outcome of the presidential election.
In light of Wednesday’s violent breach at the U.S. Capitol, there is heightened security in Olympia, including fencing erected around the Capitol and a strong presence of the Washington State Patrol and the National Guard.
Check back for updates from Olympia throughout the day.
UPDATE: The state Legislature will meet remotely for the 2021 session. Read Austin Jenkins' story here.
The State Patrol says a 30-year-old Everett man arrested today was one of the people who breached the gate outside the Governor's Mansion last week. He will be charged with criminal trespass.
“Regardless of the duration, regardless of what happens today, the National Guard, Washington State Patrol, DES and law enforcement partners will do what is necessary to protect the people, the place and process of democracy,” Chris Loftis of the Washington State Patrol says.
The State Patrol, at its 1 p.m. news briefing, says that the second person arrested today is a 30-year-old man who purposely crossed into a restricted area. He was taken into custody without incident.
Both people arrested this morning face misdemeanor charges of failure to comply with a lawful order, a State Patrol spokesman said.
There are about 35 protesters outside the Capitol now. The State Patrol says it is prepared for more groups to arrive this afternoon and tonight. There are no plans to pull back the current amount of security.
The Washington State Senate is officially in session, reports Austin Jenkins of the Northwest News Network. It begins with a virtual honor guard and a virtual Pledge of Allegiance.
The Washington State Patrol says a second person has been arrested at the Capitol this morning. "A male that attempted to enter the restricted area was arrested for failure to comply with a lawful order," the State Patrol tweeted.
The state House of Representatives will convene at 11 a.m., followed by Senate at noon, according to the state Department of Enterprise Services.
Washington State Patrol Sgt. Darren Wright says one person was arrested this morning. An RV was blocking the road to the Capitol. He says law enforcement will be out as long as necessary. When asked about people wanting to breach the building, Wright said, "That's not gonna happen."