Missouri officials back at work despite attacks

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Associated Press Writer

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Security remained tight at state facilities across Missouri after terrorist attacks nationwide.

With some doors locked and flags at half-staff, the Missouri Capitol stayed open for business after Tuesday's attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.

The Legislature, according the Constitution, was to meet Wednesday for its annual veto session, when lawmakers consider whether to override any of the bills struck down by Gov. Bob Holden.

Lawmakers also were to continue a special legislative session on prescription drug benefits for elderly Missourians, state tax exemptions for federal refund checks and revisions to a contentious livestock pricing law.

"Security will continue to be heightened at all state facilities and extra precautions will be implemented," the governor's office said in a statement Wednesday. "But state office buildings will be open for business Wednesday and state employees are expected to report for work."

At the Capitol, guards were posted at the only two entrances that remained open. The House and Senate pushed forward with committee meetings for the special legislative session.

"Given all that's happened in the past 24 hours, it's been very difficult to keep our minds on the work we're here to do, but we're still doing it and I think that's important," Rep. Pat Naeger, R-Perryville, said Wednesday.

Holden attempted to ease concerns among state employees during a joint session Tuesday of the Legislature.

The governor put the Missouri National Guard, the State Emergency Management Agency and the Missouri State highway Patrol on alert. Additional security officers were placed on duty at state office buildings in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Jefferson City.

Meanwhile, the Callaway Nuclear Plant in Fulton was ordered to a high-security protocol by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said AmerenUE spokesman Mike Cleary.

Blood centers across Missouri reported being swamped with requests from potential blood donors and officials encouraged donations to help ensure adequate blood supplies for attack victims.

Holden donated blood Tuesday at the American Red Cross' Jefferson City office.

"Giving blood, the gift of life, is one way Missourians can lend a hand to those in need," the governor said.

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