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Rules and customs for navigating within the State Capitol
Food, drinks: There is a snack bar located in the basement at the north side of the Capitol (sandwiches and daily specials) from 7:30am to 4:00pm. During the Legislature session there is an additional snack bar located on the 4th floor in the north wing from 7:30am to 3:00pm Monday - Thursday.
ATM machine: There is an ATM machine located in the east wing of the 2nd floor next to the Treasurer's office.
What to wear: Most important are non-slippery, comfortable shoes. You will do a lot of walking and the stairs in the Capitol are very smooth. As for dress - there is a wide range, you certainly don't have to wear a suit (although you wouldn't be out of place) but don't wear jeans if possible. It is best to wear comfortable clothing.
Restrooms: Restrooms for both men and women are located on the north side of every floor. All are wheelchair accessible.
Entry & Security -
Capitol entrances are open from 6:00am to 7:00pm or until one hour following adjournment of legislative session, Monday through Friday.
All persons entering the Capitol shall submit to security screening requirements, including, but not limited to magnetometer screening devices. All packages, briefcases, purses and other containers in the immediate possession of all persons shall be subject to inspection.
Wheelchair accessibility main access is through the southeast entrance: a secondary entrance is located at the west entrance.
Velvet ropes and galleries: There is a gallery located on the 4th floor on both the House and Senate side. Anyone may visit at anytime during the session to observe the governing bodies as they meet in their respective Chamber. The Legislative session is from the first of February to the last week in May. No food, drink, or cell phones are allowed in the galleries
To access legislative language on-site: Staff in the Bill Room can get you a copy of any filed legislation. The Bill Room is located on the third floor east wing.
How to know what's going on: Contact the Senate Pro Tem's office at 405-521-5565 and inquire regarding that day's schedule and location of events.
Lobbyists: They have a vast store of knowledge in how the building and the system works - both the process of passing (or killing) legislation, and the logistics of the setting. Connecting with one for advice can be invaluable.
Cell phones: Cell phones are allowed everywhere except in the Gallery during the House and Senate sessions.
How to connect with a legislator: If you are unable to visit the State Capitol, you can access by computer and log onto the website www.oksenate.gov for the Senate site and www.okhouse.gov for the House site. You can find information about your legislator in your district. If you are visiting the State Capitol, go to the Information Desk located on the 1st floor in the southeast quadrant and someone can assist you.
Law Library: It is located in the basement on the south side. Operating hours are 8:00am - 5:00pm.
Coming to a public hearing or a committee or task force or council meeting: If you need assistance, please go to the Information Desk located on the 1st floor in the southeast quadrant and someone can assist you in finding the location of your meeting.
In the hearing room, you must turn off your cell phone or turn it to silent mode. You cannot bring food or drink into the hearing rooms. Take any loud or long conversations into the hall. You cannot speak up at a hearing or committee meeting (this should be obvious when you get there). Only the legislators and members of committees, councils or task forces can ask questions.
If you have been invited to serve on a commission, council or task force get to a seat at the table. It is best to sit and watch for a while in your first meeting, to see how the group works. When you do speak up, you must recognized and use the microphone if available. I'm sure I've forgotten lots of things. The best advice is to ask questions, wait and see what everyone else does, and follow a more experienced advocate or lobbyist. Good luck.
State of Oklahoma
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