BOISE – There has been a lot of talk this week about the man who was recorded on video going through lawmakers' desks. The incident sparked a lot of questions from people wanting to know what people can and cannot do inside the Idaho Capitol and on the Capitol Mall.
As it turns out, there are currently no rules for inside the Statehouse. There are guidelines, but those aren’t enough and hold no force of law.
Lawmakers know that. That’s why last year they passed House Bill 693. That bill asked the Department of Administration to draft some rules for the inside of the Capitol and the Capitol Mall area.
According to the current law, the Meridian man who went through lawmakers' papers did not do anything wrong. There is no investigation and there will not be any charges.
"Maybe he didn't do anything criminal, but I think it crosses the line," said Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise.
That is just one example of why Winder and other lawmakers in the House and Senate State Affairs Committees are reviewing rules for the Capitol and the Capitol Mall.
"So the rules are trying to deal with that issue, they're trying to deal with orderly use of the property so the property is not damaged," said Winder.
Although not directly mentioned, the rules are at least in part, in response to the Occupy movement from last year.
"The idea here is that we have lots of demands for use of the properties for just ongoing protests, ongoing events, and so you can't have one group just take over and dominate the use of the property," said Winder.
The rules, drawn up by the Department of Administration, have already passed the Senate State Affairs Committee and will now be taken up by the House.
Winder says the whole purpose is to allow the business that needs to take place in the state buildings, while, without unnecessary interruption, still allowing people their freedom of speech.
"So that's the way we looked at the rules, not trying to single out someone or some group and saying no, that group is bad and shouldn't be here," said Winder.
As for the man seen in the video going through the desks of lawmakers and taking pictures of their papers, he has been identified as 47-year-old Bryan Carter of Meridian. We spoke to him Wednesday afternoon. He declined our request for an interview and asked that we at KTVB "respect his privacy."
At this point it's unclear when the House State Affairs Committee will look at and vote on the rules. If you would like to see the proposals here are links to the internal rules and exterior rules.