Document Scanning Ban Heads to Nixon's Desk

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Revenue would have to stop scanning private documents under a bill sent to Gov. Jay Nixon Wednesday.

The bill is a response to the department's controversial decision to start scanning private documents, including birth certificates and drivers' license information such as concealed-carry endorsements, into a central database. In addition to halting this practice, the bill would require the agency to delete any databases it has created containing such documents.

Bill sponsor Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit, said the bill was the right solution to the problem and would protect Missourians from identity theft. He told KOMU 8 News the bill allows the agency to continue scanning any immigration-related documents, a provision he said was included at the department's request.

Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis, disputed whether the agency's actions were ever cause for alarm. He said the real issue is that the department never submitted its new rules to an oversight committee for review. Colona called the bill completely inappropriate.

The controversy over the agency's database led to weeks of senate hearings and the resignation of then-department director Brian K. Long after just four months on the job. During the controversy, lawmakers learned the agency provided a list of all of Missouri's concealed-carry permit holders to the highway patrol so that agency could comply with a Social Security Administration request for such a list. Social Security Administration agents told a senate committee in April their agency asked for that list as part of an investigation into social security fraud that they ultimately abandoned. Lawmakers passed a budget last week that included a substantial cut to the agency's Division of Motor Vehicle Licensing. That agency is only partially funded.  Republican lawmakers said they funded the agency through February 2014 so they could review the agency at that time. Nixon said he views it as 2/3 funding for the entire year and that he would make the proper cuts to operations come July 1 to meet that goal.

The bill would become law immediately upon Nixon's signature. Nixon's office told KOMU 8 News the measure would get a full review but refused to comment further.