Alaska Legislature

Alaska lawmakers reopen Capitol to the public

JUNEAU — A panel of state lawmakers has reopened Alaska’s Capitol building to the public.

The joint House-Senate Legislative Council voted 10-0 on Wednesday afternoon to end entry restrictions that have been in place since last year.

Until Wednesday, entry had been restricted to lawmakers, staff and members of the media. All had to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and before widespread vaccinations were available, had to undergo testing multiple times per week.

“Now we are open to the public,” said Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak. “Lobbyists and the public are welcome to this building as they were before.”

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Former Alaska Department of Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas was one of the first members of the public to enter the building after the restrictions were lifted.

“Someone had to be the first,” she said on social media alongside a selfie showing her in the Capitol’s lobby.


Under the new rules approved by the Legislative Council, individual legislative offices may ask visitors to wear a mask.

“Those experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms associated with COVID-19 should stay home,” the rules say. “Individuals in legislative facilities presenting with symptoms may be asked to leave the premises until symptoms are no longer present.”

Jessica Geary, director of the agency that administers legislative buildings, said it will be the “personal responsibility” of visitors to follow the rules.

James Brooks

James Brooks was a Juneau-based reporter for the ADN from 2018 to May 2022.