Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Legislature Advances Anti-Scanning Legislation amid DOR Controversy

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Legislature Advances Anti-Scanning Legislation amid DOR Controversy

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY * Missouri lawmakers are advancing legislation that would block the Department of Revenue from scanning personal documents when Missourians apply for drivers licenses.

The state's new drivers license system which has prompted the Department of Revenue to make and keep electronic copies of identification documents, including birth certificates and marriage licenses has been the subject of intense scrutiny in recent weeks.

But if the Missouri Legislature is successful in passing anti- scanning legislation, the controversy could soon become a moot point.

There are two versions of the legislation a House bill and a Senate bill. Each bill has been approved in its originating chamber with bipartisan support, and each version is advancing through the opposite chamber.

A House committee on Monday unanimously voted to send the Senate version to the House floor, where its own version of the bill was approved in a 139-13 vote this month. Similarly, the House bill is making its way through the Senate committee process, increasing its chances of passage.

Revenue officials have defended the new policy, saying it makes Missouri licenses more secure and curbs the potential for fraudulent IDs.

But many Republican lawmakers have raised concerns over the privacy implications and the potential for identity theft. Copies of the documents are retained in a state data center in Jefferson City.

"We believe it's a privacy issue," said Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit, sponsor of the Senate bill.

Kraus noted that South Carolina's Revenue Department was hacked last fall, compromising millions of residents' personal data.

In Missouri, the controversy has spawned at least one lawsuit, countless hearings at the Capitol and several side issues over how the state handles residents' private information. It also has given Republican legislators plenty of ammunition against the administration of Democratic Gov. …

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