Friday, July 26, 2013--6:30p.m.
MADISON--For the third straight day, police arrested participants in the noontime sing-a-long at the state Capitol. The group members were cited for gathering without a permit. Policy requires that groups larger than twenty get a permit to gather in the rotunda.
That permit requirement is really what all of this confrontation is about. Protestors say the first ammendment is their permit; police say they have to have one. That got us wondering, how tough is it to get a permit?
We decided to apply for one and find out.
Step one--you have to get the permit application.
You can find that by going to the Department of Administration's website and clicking on the "capitol police" tab on the left hand side.
Once that page loads, click on the "state facility use permit application."
It's a one-page-form. Fill it out. You'll need your organization's name, your name, your address, the location you want to reserve and a few other things, like whether or not you want equipment--but you won't need anything too specific, like a driver's license or social security number.
Then, you just need to get the forms back to Capitol Police; you can fax, mail or even hand deliver them. But you do need to have the request in at least 72 hours before you want to have your event.
The permit itself is free, so there's no cost to apply.
The forms say applications are typically processed within ten business days, but the Department of Administration says most are granted before that. In fact,we just filled out the forms today and in less than three hours were already granted a permit.
We're told permits are granted based on the availability of space, not the gathering organization's speech content.
We're also told that requests can be made for multiple dates at a time, so daily events like the sing-a-long wouldn't have to file these forms every single day.