Gross Hails Approval of Social Security Numbers Bill Law Would Bar Disclosure by State Agency, Employee

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Rep. Chuck Gross, R-St. Charles, said Tuesday he hopes the governor signs a bill he co-sponsored to limit the use of Social Security numbers by state agencies.

Gross has pushed for the law because, he has said, agencies unnecessarily ask people for their Social Security numbers and give them out too freely. He is afraid these numbers will get into the hands of criminals, who could use them to gain access to others' bank accounts, credit cards or personal information.

The House approved the bill Thursday by a vote of 150-4. The Senate approved it April 23 by a vote of 32-1.

The measure would bar any state department or employee from disclosing a Social Security number unless authorized by federal or state law. Originally, the measure also would have restricted agencies in asking people for their numbers. But Gross had to drop that portion of the bill when the Department of Public Safety worried it would have trouble getting the Social Security numbers of criminals.

A spokesman for the office of Gov. Mel Carnahan, Chris Sifford, said Tuesday that no decision about signing or vetoing the bill had been made.

Gross said the bill does not call for penalties. If someone felt a Social Security number had been given out illegally, he or she would have to file a civil suit seeking redress. …