Minnesota Capitol remains fenced in and closed to the public, legislator says

The fence costs $8,200 a month in taxpayer money.

Rep. Erik Mortensen stands outside the State Capitol building (Erik Mortensen/Facebook)

The Minnesota Capitol has been surrounded by a chain-link fence and closed to the public for 10 months, so Republican Rep. Erik Mortensen took his constituents on a virtual tour of the silent building.

Mortensen stood outside the Capitol building in his video from March 13 and remarked that it may look unrecognizable behind him, since the building is completely fenced off.

“We reached out to the sergeant of arms, and we asked him, ‘how long can the public expect this fence to be up around its Capitol?’ And he said ‘indefinitely,’” Mortensen announced.

Mortensen was also informed that the state will continue to fortify the building in the coming months because of the ongoing trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

The fence costs $8,200 a month — of taxpayer money — to keep in place around the Capitol, in addition to a setup and removal fee of $23,119, according to Rep. Jeremy Munson.

“Public officials have accepted a response from the left that rioting and looting will be a tolerable response, and they will continue to stand down and not arrest rioters who destroy public property,” Munson previously said.

The plan for the fence to remain around the building well into this year has been in place since at least August, according to a WCCO report.

In his video, Mortensen talked about the lack of public access to the Capitol building. “As this fence indicates, no public is allowed. For the last year, no public has been allowed inside our State Capitol building or our state office building where the legislators are supposed to be working.”

Mortensen took viewers inside the building, on a workday, he specified, where it was quiet and empty of legislators.

After knocking on both the governor’s office door and House Speaker Melissa Hortman’s office door and receiving no answer to either, Mortensen declared: “This is your state government at work. Are you impressed?”

Mortensen said that state legislators think it’s fine for citizens to go to Target, Walmart, and other “big box” stores, but not to their offices.

“They’ve decided they’re far too important, they’re far too vulnerable, and you’re far too contaminated to enter into their workplace and address your grievances with your elected representatives. I’m convinced the real reason is they know you’re pissed off,” Mortensen asserted.

“There is no urgency in the Legislature to get anything done. And there are urgent matters at hand,” Mortensen said. “Your state government is failing you.”

Mortensen also pointed out that the “member directory” booklet’s cover features the Capitol building surrounded by the fence as a woman wearing a mask walks by.

“That is by no accident … That is propaganda. They are trying to normalize this fence and the wearing of masks.”

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