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Could a state capitol takeover happen in Dover?

Delaware Public Media

Wednesday’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the takeover of the Michigan state capital in early 2020 has Delaware's state legislators worried it could happen here.


State lawmakers return to work next week, but won’t convene in person throughout January.


When in-person sessions do resume, some leaders are worried about the security at Leg Hall.


Democratic State Sen. Dave Sokola (D-Newark) is expected to be voted Senate President Pro Temp.  He says he and House Speaker Pete Schawartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach) are worried the state house could be easily overrun — as happened at the Michigan statehouse last April when armed protestors entered the building protesting Coronavirus restrictions.


“People were allowed to go in, but it became a mob," said Sokola. "So Pete [Schwarzkopf] and I are trying to work with Capitol Police and homeland security to ensure that we have a respectful steup in the capitol when we go back into session in person.”

Sokola says he’s proud of the brave men and women with the Capitol Police for implementing high levels of security and keeping lawmakers safe.


He says legislative leadership will meet with them to hear the recommendations when lawmakers return. 


Sokola says he sees similarities between security needs in schools and at Leg Hall.


“You know a lot of the literature says you need to know who’s coming into your building and you need to have people at the doors during the opening who know the people who are coming into the building,” said Sokola.


Sokola says one big change could be an audit on door access in the building, making sure that staff access is more restricted and tightly controlled than in the past. 


The new legislative session starts Tuesday with the swearing in of the new members.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.