Statehouse Headliners: Former Statehouse security guard says small ‘banners’ were OK

By Guy Page

Headliners reported this week that House Judiciary Chair Maxine Grad banged the gavel against people waving small American flags at a gun bill hearing because, she said, waving banners is prohibited at Statehouse public hearings. This drew a quick email response from recently retired Capitol security officer Pat Finnie of Calais:

I served as a Security Officer there for almost 15 years, and that is not factual. As part of my duty there I checked attendees at events such as budget addresses, Inaugurations, same sex marriage hearings, etc. for contraband, and posters/banners, and if they were bigger than 8.5 X 11 inches they were not allowed, smaller that that and they were allowed! Those Flags were 4″ X 6″. Further more personally I took exception to our flag being referred to as a “banner”. The Red Sox have banners. Our country has a flag! My Father and three Uncles served in WWII to protect our Country, Citizens, Constitution, and the Flag of the United States of America, not the Banner of the United States of America.

Judging by the flood of emails and Facebook comments, Pat Finnie is not the only reader who responded emphatically to the chair’s efforts to prohibit flag waving.

Perhaps the dignity of the House would have been better served if House Judiciary had warned specifically against flag-waving. Just a few days earlier pro-gun rights advocates had silently waved flags at a public hearing in Randolph. There were no complaints. If House Judiciary and its chair had a problem with such behavior, it could have been anticipated and addressed.

But to many hearing attendees and after-the-fact Headliners readers, something more important than decorum is at stake. It’s our American right to wave the flag as an expression of free speech. If it’s legal and accepted speech to burn Old Glory in protest, or for Colin Kaepernick to kneel rather than stand for the National Anthem, shouldn’t it be okay to sit quietly and silently wave a 4″ x 6″ flag? And if government says the answer is ‘no,’ what’s next?

Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

10 thoughts on “Statehouse Headliners: Former Statehouse security guard says small ‘banners’ were OK

  1. Bottom line Democrats/progressives are trying to control every aspect of your life and take control or mislead Vermonters of their constitutional rights.I agree with the retired security guard who worked at statehouse. Taxed Enough–Controled enough ? I am and VT is the worst place for retirees because of the Socialist state of mind VT has become. I am a life long Vermonter as my wife a 7 gen. We are ashamed of how Vt govt has been misled real Vermonter to serve their own agendas. NIMBIES all over.

    • Tyler, I am, as you, and now live in N.H. – the irresponsible and socialist dreamers have taken over the state.

  2. This whole “I am scared of these gun people” is a pre planned act, designed to put law enforcement on notice and gain sympathy for the poor anti’s to have to attend such a “dangerous” event with these gun nuts. In Randolph for the Judiciary hearing, we heard after commenting about the number of police officers present, that some of the anti’s had called that they feared for their safety at the hearing. More propaganda.
    Maxine Grad was putting on a show, fraudulently espousing her horrible personal sacrifice in dealing with these irresponsible and stubborn gun owners and having to worry about her personal safety. Needing a LEO to walk her to the car is JUST AN ACT! I believe she feels she can capitalize on it and use it to help pass this staged S.169 bill. What better emotional selling point than to advertise that she feels threatened by gun owners.
    This legislature is filled with these self promoting hypocrites. They have an agenda and could care less about laws, respect for tax payers, or the constitution.

    • A neighbor just informed me that a friend went through a Franklin County McDonald’s drive-thru at lunchtime, and, at the window, the worker asked if the box on the dash were bullets. They were, and the individual said so. After pulling forward to wait for his meal, the local PD showed up, because the McD worker called them.

      This is what it’s come to – you’re right Beagle. I’m fairly certain these freedom-hating socialists will be back next year to remove more rights, citing the number of 911 calls because a person was ‘scared’ by the sight of something completely legal and totally innocuous.

  3. Maxine Grad is just trying to live up to her big mouth pushy namesake Maxine Waters.
    The ANTI AMERICAN shines brightly from both of the leftist fascist. Both are triggered
    by small American flags and red MAGA hats (and orange hunting vests). Maybe instead
    of suing the Trump Admin for killing the most racist FLOUS (aka Sasquatch) lunch program
    our politically polarized AG could investigate Grad for lying about the laws and over stepping her
    authority …then bounce her butt
    back to the flatland she came from. wishful thinking…

  4. It’s hard for me to fathom that any ” elected official ” would stop any American from waving the American Flag, I would not have believed it If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes !!

    This is the most appalling thing I have seen and heard in these chambers, Maxine Grad just showed me her true colors as the committee chair, I would assume she should be pretty transparent when listening to testimony, nothing but the opposite !!………….. Arrogance at it’s best !!

    The side opposing bill S.169 ( flag wavers ) had a ten to one advantage over the ” Gun Sense VT ”
    crowd. But from what I saw and heard, there is no doubt in my mind this ” Hearing ” was nothing more than a dog & pony show !!

    These shenanigans showed that this committee already had their minds made up.

    All anyone had to do was watch Maxine Grad’s demeanor, she needs to apologize to those who
    showed their love of constitution by waving a 4×6 inch flag when in concurrence with the testimony,
    free speech comes to my mind………. Pretty disgusting display of those in power.

    Wake up Vermont, purge the State House

    • “free speech comes to my mind………. Pretty disgusting display of those in power.”

      A lawsuit of violation of free speech could be brought against her,here they were actively trying to violate the 2 nd, and also violating the 1 st.
      Of course they have zero respect for the Constitutions,this nation,it’s flag,state or Vermont’s people

  5. I think that we have the most liberal non American legislature that we have ever had in Vermont. These people are socialist with an agenda to destroy our Vermont way of life.

    At the end of the session, house judiciary chair Maxine grad had security police escort her to her car.
    Really.. What did she think was going to happen to her? Did she think that we were going to be violent towards her. We haven’t shown violence at any of the rally’s. This is Vermont. We don’t act that way but these fools are really starting to push it.

    I won’t ask what State she is from but from what Country. 2020 is coming and we need to vote as many of these fools out.

  6. Some one may want to inform the Fascist Chair Maxine Grad ,time for the tyrannical control in Montpelier to end.

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