Legislation Targets Highway Patrol Aircraft
JEFFERSON CITY - State aircraft purchases like the one that held up a gubernatorial appointment in January could get more oversight under a bill the Senate debated Tuesday.
The bill, which received first-round approval late Tuesday afternoon, would require the highway patrol to submit any purchase costing more than $100,000 as a line item in its budget requests. This would mean the House Budget and Senate Appropriations committees would have to approve any such equipment during the annual budgeting process. The highway patrol purchased the new airplane out of the so-called revolving fund, which is used to buy other vehicles like cars and trucks. Sponsors say the bill would only affect large watercraft and aircraft.
The senate approved the bill unanimously, with members of both parties saying the bill was good policy. Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, said the airplane purchase was a division of power problem more than anything else, referring to the requirement that the executive branch ask the legislative branch for a budget each year. Sen. Brad Lager, R-Marysville, said the purchase hurt the highway patrol's credibility with the legislature. He said the patrol should ask the legislature for permission to make such large purchases rather than making the purchase and telling the legislature after the fact.
The senate has to vote on the measure one more time to determine whether the bill goes to the house.