PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Upon entering the Department of Administration building on Smith Hill, visitors are required to show a form of identification to enter, and are then given a visitor’s pass.

The added security measures, which have been in place for just months now, are seen as problematic by open government advocates who believe the requirement may deter the public from participating.

The DOA, formally known as the Justice William Powers building, is located across the street from the Rhode Island State House. It houses state offices like the Division of Taxation and various public meetings are held there.

“A person might want to attend a public meeting anonymously and just witness what’s going on and not testify, and they should have the right to do that,” John Marion of Common Cause Rhode Island said.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) of Rhode Island has similar concerns.

“We don’t believe that members of the public should be required to carry around an ID card in order to enter a government building that is routinely the site of public meetings and hearings,” Executive Director Steven Brown said. “It is not meaningful as a security measure, while it may unnecessarily prevent some individuals from participating in government business.”

A DOA spokesperson told 12 News a work group with members of the Rhode Island State Police, Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security determined the screening protocols are needed.

“The Powers building houses sensitive personal and financial information that requires thoughtful security measures,” DOA spokesperson Laura Hart explained.

It costs the state and its taxpayers $100,000 annually for the extra personnel at DOA, in addition to $14,500 for the visitor management system. Hart said the actual screening equipment was provided by the court system at no cost.

The DOA is one of four state buildings that require identification. The others are the Emergency Operations Center, the medical examiner’s office, and the state lab, according to Hart.

State judicial buildings do not require identification to enter.