Associated Press: End partisan seating at State of Union, Murkowski says

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski is urging a permanent end to the partisan seating arrangement at the State of the Union address.

The Alaska Republican is joining Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in asking congressional leaders to institute bipartisan seating.

The two led the push for bipartisan seating in 2011, after the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Murkowski was to sit with Maryland Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski but missed the address when her son had appendicitis.

Udall and Murkowski, in a letter to congressional leaders, said there's an obligation to show there's a place for civility in Congress and that civility can lead to problem solving.

Murkowski says party lines are not brick walls. She says she and Udall see bipartisan seating as a step toward better communication among congressional members.

Source: Originally published on January 12, 2012