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Lawmakers ponder security camera update for Iowa Capitol

DES MOINES — A half million dollar plan to replace security cameras in the Iowa Capitol complex has the support of Republicans in the Iowa House, but Senate Republicans have not included the project in their preliminary budget plan.

In February of last year, a 23-year-old man was charged with vandalism after surveillance camera images showed him breaking into the Capitol on a Sunday morning. According to Senator Janet Petersen, a Democrat from Des Moines, the man made it onto the floor of the Iowa Senate.

“We are setting ourselves up for a very dangerous situation if we don’t include money to upgrade the security of this facility,” Petersen said during senate debate last week, “so I would encourage as we move on budget negotiations not to neglect security, especially even as we saw what happened at the nation’s Capitol.”

Republicans who hold a majority of seats in the Iowa House and Senate are drafting a variety of bills that outline state spending for the next budgeting year. Republican Senator Craig Johnson of Independence predicted the statehouse security project may wind up in one of them.

“I would guess that would come together at the end of all of this,” Johnson said, “…when we’re comparing our bills and looking at them.”

Legislators on Tuesday hit the 100-day mark of this year’s session. Per diem expenses for legislators end on April 30th. 

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