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Lawmakers address security issues at Capitol

Lawmakers were talking about security at the state Capitol today in the wake of the shooting of Rep.

Lawmakers were talking about security at the state Capitol today in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona.

House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said in a statement: “In light of the tragic shooting in Arizona over the weekend, it’s time to ratchet down the overheated rhetoric and for us to do the job of ensuring the safety of all Minnesotans.”

He said a task force should be formed to “outline specific actions to improve safety and security at the Capitol.”

Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, said the Capitol is “the people’s house — we firmly believe that.” She loves to see families and school groups come to the building. She said she is reluctant to install metal detectors.

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Koch said the first step should be a revisiting of reports and updates from the legislative auditor in 2009 and 2010 (PDF).

Here’s the full report (PDF).

Thissen added: “We also need to understand that hateful partisan rhetoric comes at a price; it creates a toxic environment where political disagreements can turn violent. Minnesotans and Americans can disagree without demonizing one another. This weekend’s tragedy should serve as a wake-up call that the words we use have consequences, and we need to return to respect and understanding in our political discourse.”