Senate Threatens Budget Delay Over Revenue Department's License Data
JEFFERSON CITY - Mere minutes after the House passed the state's 2014 budget, the Senate announced it would delay action on it until the Department of Revenue answers questions about possible state law violations.
Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said the decision came after constituents told him the Department of Revenue is selling equipment used in the production of drivers licenses to a private contractor for destruction and buying new equipment. State law forbids such sales. Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said Thursday afternoon on the Senate floor he was willing to push the budget into a special session while the Senate investigates the department's conduct. The Department of Revenue said in a statement the equipment in question belongs to the contractor and is not state property.
The dispute began on March 13 when the Senate Appropriations Committee says it learned the Department of Revenue was using a Department of Homeland Security grant to collect Missourians' photo ID data, an action that has already resulted in a lawsuit in Stoddard County. State law prohibits the collection of photo ID data in accordance with the federal Real ID Act. KOMU 8 News has filed an open-records request with the Department of Revenue for documents related to the use of drivers' license data, but had not received a reply as of Thursday afternoon.
Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, told KOMU 8 News the agency has violated at least three state laws. He said the equipment the department is accused of selling off is probably not more than seven years old and is still state property even if it was leased rather than purchased outright.