Holden signs new anti-terrorism laws

Monday, July 1, 2002

Associated Press WriterJEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Gov. Bob Holden on Monday signed into law several measures prompted by the Sept. 11 attacks, including tougher penalties for terrorist acts and new abilities to close some records.

Holden signed five bills, including one that creates felonies of terroristic threats and agroterrorism, such as spreading contagious diseases among livestock.

Other provisions create the crime of water contamination, prohibit hazardous waste from being transported through tunnels and allow the State Water Patrol to close waterways during disasters.

The law, which takes effect Aug. 28, also closes government computer system records, credit card numbers and the structural and security records of public buildings. Access also would be restricted to similar records for public utilities.

"With this new law Missouri citizens should be reassured that we can deal with hazards we face in the new century," Holden said in remarks prepared for the bill signing at the state Emergency Operations Center at the Missouri National Guard headquarters.

Many provisions of the new law came from recommendations by a state task force on homeland security.

Removed from the bill before lawmakers passed it were proposed penalties for businesses that raise prices during emergencies -- a provision backed by Holden.

Immediately after the attacks, at least 48 Missouri service stations raised motor fuel prices above $2.49 a gallon. The state collected more than $49,700 in fines and another $10,250 in legal fees.

Another bill signed into law Monday designates Sept. 11 as Emergency Services Day in honor of those killed in the terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.

Emergency Services Day has been celebrated on Nov. 28, but supporters of the bill said no one realizes the day exists because it falls around the Thanksgiving holiday.

Holden also signed a bill that would allow the state Office of Administration to provide armed security guards at state-owned and state-leased buildings outside of Jefferson City and Cole County.

Private security guards already are at work at the Capitol and nearby state office buildings in Jefferson City.

------On the Net:

Gov. Bob Holden: http://www.gov.state.mo.us

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