Three weeks remain in this year’s legislative session. Jefferson City is abuzz with floor debate and committee hearings as legislation makes its way through the Missouri House and Senate. This week the Senate passed its version of the FY 2014 budget with many alterations to the version passed earlier by the House. Most likely, the thirteen appropriations bills which form the budget will be sent to conference committees next week to hash out the differences between the two versions.
While I had the chance I wanted to take a moment and provide an update on the Department of Revenue scandal that many of you have contacted me about. Since the discovery that certain information had been shared with the federal government and third-party companies regarding Missourians with concealed carry permits(CCW), a new lawsuit has been filed in Stoddard County. As you may remember, this is where light was first shed on the Department of Revenue’s new scanning procedures was over a month ago.
The Stoddard County Circuit court has issued a subpoena for Nixon to testify on May 3rd as part of the case. The plaintiff’s attorney in the case, Russell Oliver, has said he wants to question several high-ranking state officials in connection with the lawsuit against the state Department of Revenue and a local license office.
Over the past four weeks the Senate Appropriations Committee has been sorting through thousands of documents received from a subpoena of the Department of Revenue. It was from these documents that Missouri legislators finally found concrete evidence of the sharing of private information which the Nixon administration had denied.
In Senate hearings, Department of Revenue officials and officials from the Missouri Highway Patrol confirmed that the department is maintaining a database of personal information about people with permits to carry concealed weapons and also confirmed that that information has been shared with federal officials on multiple occasions. The revenue department’s former head, Brian Long, stepped down in the wake of the scandal last week and earlier this week the state Senate passed a proposed budget that slashes funding for the revenue department in response to the scandal. Also, the Senate’s proposed budget provides the Missouri’s Sheriffs with funds to begin issuing and producing Missouri CCW permits.
Every day we are learning more about the case and without a doubt the investigation is far from over. Hopefully, we might learn more from the Governor if he indeed does adhere to the subpoena and provides testimony in the Stoddard County case. Missourians deserve answers as to what is being done with their personal information and the Missouri House will not rest until we know that your privacy is safe.
For more information about the legislation mentioned above or if you wish to participate in my online survey, please visit the House of Representatives website, www.house.mo.gov. As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri House of Representatives.