Vermont State House

Vermont General Assembly
1997-1998 Legislative Session

Vermont State House

Rules and Policies Relating to
The Use of the State House

The rules and policies relating to the use of the Vermont State House are the result of the combined efforts of the Joint Rules Committee, the Sergeant-at-Arms, the Clerk of the House, the Secretary of the Senate, and members of the Legislative Council.

Pursuant to Rule 26(e) of the Joint Rules of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Sergeant at Arms adopts the following rules for the general supervision of conduct within the State House:

  1. Hours of Public Admission.

    On any day on which the General Assembly is not in session, the State House is open to the public from 7:45 AM to 4:15 PM, except Saturdays, Sundays, and official holidays. On Saturdays, Sundays and official holidays, the State House shall be closed to the public unless the General Assembly is in session.

    On any day on which the General Assembly is in session, the State House is open to the public from 7:45 AM to 9:30 PM or until the conclusion of the session, whichever is later. For the purpose of this rule, the General Assembly shall be considered to be in session whenever either chamber is meeting, or an official committee of either or both chambers is conducting an official meeting.

    These hours of public admission do not apply to a Member of the General Assembly, an employee of the Legislature or any of its staff agencies, or to any other employee of the state while performing custodial or security functions at the State House.

  2. Public conduct in the State House.

    1. Persons in the State House shall refrain from:

      1. loud or unusual noise or profanity;
      2. running, crowding, pushing or shoving;
      3. any other conduct which creates a risk of harm to any person or which would disrupt essential governmental operations;
      4. any conduct which obstructs entrances, walks, corridors, elevators, cafeteria, offices or stairways.

    2. Banners, signs and placards may be permitted in the State House, except in the House and Senate Chambers, under the following conditions:

      1. No sticks, rods or similar devices may be used to support a banner, sign or placard.
      2. Banners, signs and placards may not be carried or held in such a way as to obstruct another's view or to endanger the safety of another.

    3. No person while in the State House shall carry a firearm or other dangerous or deadly weapon or an explosive, openly or concealed, except for official purposes.

    4. The presiding officers shall have general supervision over their respective Chambers, and the Chairs of committees shall have general supervision over their respective committee rooms or hearing rooms, and in the case of a disturbance or disorderly conduct or other violation of this rule, may order the Sergeant at Arms to restore order or to clear the area.

    5. The Sergeant at Arms shall have general supervision over the conduct of the public within the State House buildings, including but not limited to its entrances, walks, corridors, elevators, cafeteria, offices and stairways, and shall maintain order therein and, if necessary, take measures to prevent disruption of essential governmental operations, consistent with this Joint Rule and all other rules of the General Assembly.

  3. Other Rules of Conduct.

    1. Children under 12 years of age may be admitted to the State House only if accompanied by an adult.

    2. Shoes and shirts must be worn by all persons admitted to the State House.

    3. No alcohol may be consumed in the State House except at official functions with the approval of the Sergeant at Arms. No illegal drugs may be possessed or consumed by persons in the State House at any time. Any person under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be refused admission to or evicted from the State House.

    4. Smoking of cigarettes or other tobacco products is not permitted in the State House at any time.

  4. School Groups

    1. 4th grade students and older are allowed to come and observe the legislature in session.

    2. They must schedule in advance with the Sergeant at Arms Office.

    3. We can accommodate no more than 100 students per day. All student groups must be adequately supervised and conduct themselves in a quiet and orderly fashion while in the State House.

    4. Guided tours are not suggested during the legislative session, but may be arranged on a limited basis.

    5. Should meals be required, the Sergeant at Arms Office and the State House Cafeteria need to be notified of the number of people. You will be asked to eat at 11:00 so as not to interfere with the general assembly schedule. In case you wish to bring your own food, the only room available is Room 10 and this room must be reserved in advance.

    6. Flash type cameras are not allowed in Senate or House Chambers.

  5. Use of the Legislative Lounge

    1. The lounge, its phones and computer terminals are for the use of legislators only.

    2. Guests, staff or legislative interns must be accompanied by a member of the General Assembly while in the lounge.

    3. No food or drink is allowed in the lounge area.

  6. Use of the State House "Card Room" by Lobby Groups/Agencies

    1. Any organization desiring to book the Card Room during a particular day of the legislative session must do so with the consent of the Sergeant at Arms and subject to the availability of the room.

    2. No posters or other objects can be attached to the walls or ceiling of the card room without the prior approval of the Curator or Sergeant at Arms.

    3. All displays must be confined to the north end of the room (adjacent to the ramp), causing minimal disruption to existing furnishings, and not interfering with the free flow of pedestrian traffic in all four directions.

    4. People "manning" organizational displays in the Card Room must not overtly solicit the attention of passers-by. They can politely invite that attention, but must refrain from stopping legislators and others who clearly have no interest and are only passing through to get someplace else.

    5. No food is allowed in the Card Room without specific approval of the Sergeant at Arms.

    6. No press conferences are allowed in the Card Room.

    7. Due to demand, only one day per year can be reserved for each group.

  7. Use of the House Chamber and other State House rooms

    Contact the Sergeant-at-Arms (828-2228) to schedule the use of the House Chamber or other State House rooms

    1. Events must be scheduled around the agenda of the main legislative body. Availability of the legislative chambers, Room 10 and Room 11 is subject to preemption at any time, based on the needs of the legislative bodies.

    2. Room capacities are as follows:

      1. The House Chamber holds 350 persons.
      2. The House balcony holds 150 persons
      3. The Senate Chamber holds 50 persons (because of single exit).
      4. The Senate balcony holds 25 persons.
      5. The Room 10 holds 50 persons maximum (because of single exit).
      6. The Room 11 holds 100 persons.
      7. The Cafeteria holds 206 persons.
      8. The Ethan Allen Room holds 25 persons.

    3. Note that exit aisles of at least 44 inches must be maintained.

  8. Use of the State House Lawn for Outdoor Events

    Contact the Department of Buildings & General Services (828-3314) to schedule the use of the State House Lawn

    The Department of State Buildings and General Services in cooperation with the State House Sergeant at Arms ask for your cooperation in following the guidelines listed below while using the State House lawn. Failure to do so will result in your loss of privileges in the future.

    1. No vehicles on pavers or lawn.

    2. Do not fasten banners or nail signs to trees, buildings, etc.

    3. No large tents without prior approval.

    4. Clean up grounds after events and remove trash and debris from site.

    5. Keep people, animals out of flower beds.

    6. No climbing in the trees.

    7. Any holes made in the ground or pavement have to be refilled.

    8. No jumping of skateboards or rollerblades on state grounds.

Vermont Legislative Council
115 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05633-5301
Phone: (802) 828-2231
Fax: (802) 828-2424