INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WLFI) - Governor Eric Holcomb is temporarily closing the Indiana Statehouse and canceling all legislative activity for safety reasons. He is one of several state governors making this move to protect state capitols from any violent protests that may arise ahead of President-Elect Joe Biden's presidential inauguration on Wednesday.
Gov. Holcomb said in a press release that the Statehouse will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Senate Pro Temp Rodric Bray and House Speaker Todd Huston have canceled all legislative activity for the week of January 18th.
Demonstrations are expected at state capitols in several states beginning on Sunday. The FBI and the governor's office said officials have received no credible threats against the Statehouse.
Gov. Holcomb said the following in his statement:
“The safety and security of our state employees and the Hoosiers who use our state services are always top of mind. After an evaluation with public safety leaders, we have decided to err on the side of caution and close the state government complex to the public. Hoosiers will still be able to access essential state services online, on the phone, or in-person at branches around the state.”
Sen. Alting said people of all ages and occupations work in the statehouse, and it's about keeping them all safe.
"For the safety of my colleagues and my friends, more so than myself, I support the closure and I think it was a wise decision by leadership and the governor," he said.
Gov. Holcomb announced on Wednesday that he authorized 625 Indiana National Guard soldiers to go to Washington D.C. They will be there from Saturday until Friday to help with security. They are joining about 20,000 other National Guard soldiers at the nation's capitol.
Sen. Alting said he is disappointed that the state has to put time and resources toward keeping the statehouse safe when there are so many challenges facing Hoosiers that they should be working to solve.
"We should be concentrating on trying to expedite the COVID shots, we should be concentrating on the economy and getting people back to work, being compassionate for the homeless that's out there who have lost their apartments or their housing and solve these types of problems," he said. "We should not be here concentrating on shutting down a statehouse or deploying our military to Washington D.C. We have great challenges in all 50 states and that's truly what we should be working on. It's a darn shame and I feel very disappointed that we have to act upon how we are acting in this country and in Indiana."
The Indiana Legislature has a lot to tackle this session. It's a budget year, they have to redraw all of Indiana's district lines and they have to address many important issues from COVID-19 to public education funding. Sen. Alting said he is confident they can address it all during this session, which officially ends on April 29th.
He hopes that on Monday, the nation will take a moment to reflect on its values for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and that we can get 2021 back on a positive and productive path.
"Let us go into Martin Luther King Jr. Day thinking to ourselves what that great man stood for and what he practiced," he said. "A man who did not support violence, who believed that if you protest you do so in a peaceful and respectful manner. We all need to listen to the words that are more true today than they may have been he was alive."