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Lawmakers need to pass security legislation

The Legislature goes back into special session today and, once again, lawmakers will try to hammer out a solution to the medical malpractice crisis. But there is yet another item on its agenda that deserves attention: Security.

There are about 10 bills that deal with money for law enforcement overtime, stiffer security measures and harsher penalties for hoaxes. These are only short-term issues. Gov. Bob Wise promises a more detailed plan for statewide security during the regular legislative session.

We hope the Legislature addresses security issues as soon as possible. While we are not an especially high-profile target such as New York City or Washington, D.C., we would be foolish to think we are invulnerable. Recent reports of an allegedly bogus Coast Guard patrol boat, scoping out chemical plants in the Kanawha Valley, are very unsettling.

Maybe the risks are low in West Virginia, but we can't assume that terrorists don't know we're here. And an attack, for instance, on the chemical plants could affect tens of thousands of people in this state and surrounding states.

This special session -- which started in October and will likely drag on into December -- needs to be wrapped up. And lawmakers should not leave Charleston without addressing the security issue.

James Logue

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