New security measures implemented ahead of the State of the State Address

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PIERRE, S.D. (DAKOTA NEWS NOW) We are just one day away from the State of the State Address.

Gov. Kristi Noem will address the House of Representatives tomorrow about some of the most pressing issues facing South Dakota.

The South Dakota Department of Public Safety is determined to make sure everyone stays safe while in the state's capital, legislators as well as visitors.

Monday, the D.P.S. and highway patrol implemented their new capital safety measures.

For many years, the highway patrol has had a strong presence at the state capital building, but with times changing, the D.P.S. has decided to adjust their security measures accordingly

With hundreds of people coming into the capital building each day during the 2020 legislative session, Colonel Rick Miller, with the South Dakota Highway Patrol, says keeping everyone safe is a top priority.

"We thought if we didn't do something and something did happen, we'd be stuck answering questions about why we didn't do something, so we feel this is the best way moving forward," Miller said.

Anyone entering the building must come through the north entrance, where state troopers will guide them through the screening process.

It's actually pretty simple, folks empty their pockets and send their personal items through the X-ray scanner, if they have any bags, those go through as well.

Those entering then walk through the metal detector, if the machine is set off, troopers will use their wand to find any other items that a person may have.

"Feedback has been good," Miller said. "We haven't had any long lines, we don't anticipate any long lines, because it's a very minimal process to get you into the capital."

Sydney Powers, Chair of College Republicans, says she comes to the capital often and appreciates the new security measures.

"I think that the highway patrolmen and women are really generous, and if you're coming in and got a good attitude, they got no problem being really fast," Powers said.

Miller says the whole process only takes minutes but ensures the safety of everyone using the state capital building.

"We've looked at past trends and situations throughout the United States, and we just thought it was a good idea to make sure that the people coming into the capital are secure," Miller said.

If you are a frequent visitor to the capital building, you can apply for a Capital Access Pass, when approved, people with the pass are able to bypass the screening process.