Things are at a bit of a standstill at the statehouse this morning. The legislature’s website, which members use to read bills and amendments, is down due to a power surge that happened at about 7:30 a.m. House Speaker Kraig Paulsen announced at 8:30 that the House could not debate.
“The mics and the cameras will not be working from the floor, while they get all that rebooted,” Paulsen said.
In addition, the capitol’s elevators aren’t working and doors with electric locks cannot be opened. Officials say while the lights are back on, the electric power being generated in the statehouse hasn’t been consistent enough to operate the systems for door locks and elevators. Paulsen says legislators could do things the old-fashioned way, with paper and without amplified debate.
“We could figure out a way to work around it,” Paulsen says. “Regardless, I’m told that by 10 a.m….everything should be good to go.”
The power was out for 10 minutes and people in the capitol’s ground floor say it was incredibly quiet, as the hum of vending machines and ventilation systems were not present, plus it was very dark as there are no windows in the public areas of the ground floor.
The power outage happened during a test being conducted by the Department of Administrative Services.
“DAS experienced an interruption during the routine testing of the capitol complex emergency power systems,” Caleb Hunter, a spokesman for the agency, said in a written statement. “DAS does not expect any additional issues but we are doing further testing and evaluating to ensure the systems are functioning in the unlikely event the complex requires emergency power.”
(This story was updated at 9:15 a.m. with additional information.)