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As lawmakers return to Raleigh, police will be 'ready' for potential violence
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As lawmakers return to Raleigh, police will be 'ready' for potential violence

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RALEIGH — One week after insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol, officials in Raleigh are watching for further signs of violence as threats of armed marches continue to circulate and state lawmakers come to town for the reconvening of the General Assembly.

After insurrectionists backing President Donald Trump overran the U.S. Capitol last week — including seven from North Carolina — some governors and lawmakers began ramping up security because of online threats suggesting that more mobs could target state capitols.

Meanwhile, legislatures have convened in more than a half dozen states. By week’s end, three-fourths of all state legislatures will have opened their sessions, causing increased concerns over safety.

Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said police are monitoring the situation and cooperating with other law enforcement agencies to determine the risk and level of response.

On Monday, echoes of the violence that rocked Washington made its way to state capitols.

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee activated hundreds of National Guard troops to help state police keep order at the state Capitol. At least two people were arrested, including a man who tried to walk past authorities as lawmakers were to begin their session and shouted: “I have every right to witness this.”

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At the Georgia Capitol, a state patrol SWAT team walked the perimeter wearing fatigues and carrying rifles while lawmakers gathered inside for the start of a two-year term.

In Michigan, a state commission voted Monday to ban the open carrying of weapons in the Capitol building.

In Missouri, Republican Gov. Mike Parson's inauguration proceeded without incident. Concrete barriers and extra police — both typical inaugural precautions — surrounded the Capitol grounds where fewer than 2,000 people gathered. 

And in Idaho, doors to the House and Senate chambers were locked Monday morning, and two state troopers were stationed at each entrance. In past years, the doors were propped open while an unarmed statehouse staff member controlled access.

Glen Thorne of Buhl, a small city in Idaho, wore a handgun in a holster on his right hip at the Capitol. Openly carrying weapons in the building is legal. Thorne said he wanted to make sure Republican Gov. Brad Little “knows that we’re here.”

Today, officials will also be keeping an eye on the Legislature when the North Carolina General Assembly reconvenes.

"Our General Assembly police will be monitoring everything to make sure that the public and members will be safe here and the people's business gets done," House Speaker Tim Moore said. "We have fortunately not been the focus of any of this. I don't think it'd be an issue."

Moore spokesman Joseph Kyzer noted the General Assembly has made "dramatic improvements" to security in recent years, including metal detectors, key-card access and structural barriers outside the building.

"I can tell you that the General Assembly police is ready," Kyzer said. 

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At least five employees, some with decades of experience within the Administrative Office of the Courts, are now gone, including McKinley Wooten, who was replaced by special Superior Court Judge Andrew Heath. The AOC's most recent deputy director, general counsel and a lobbyist at the legislature for the agency also are no longer reporting to work, according to Judicial Branch spokeswoman Sharon Gladwell.

At least five employees, some with decades of experience within the Administrative Office of the Courts, are now gone, including McKinley Wooten, who was replaced by special Superior Court Judge Andrew Heath. The AOC's most recent deputy director, general counsel and a lobbyist at the legislature for the agency also are no longer reporting to work, according to Judicial Branch spokeswoman Sharon Gladwell.

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