When Missouri faced a question of a money shortage versus securing the state capitol, security lost. Starting today, visitors to the capitol no longer will have to walk through metal detectors, empty their pockets and hand over their purses for inspection, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says.
Beefed-up security ordered after Sept. 11, 2001, is being scaled back as a result of budget cuts. Legislators axed the $590,000 that would have kept a crew of unarmed guards posted at entrances to the Capitol, the nearby Truman State Office Building and the State Health Lab. “I’m not losing any sleep over it,” said Jeff Davis, chief of staff to Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder, R-Cape Girardeau. “If the terrorists have a list of targets, I think the state Capitol in Jefferson City is pretty low on their list.”
Gov. Bob Holden ordered the metal detectors installed and required all state employees to get identification cards after the terrorist attacks in 2001. Initially, the checkpoints were staffed by state employees; last year, a private firm took over.