Missouri lawmakers pass bill halting the scanning of personal documents

Less than six months after the state Revenue Department began scanning driving applicants’ personal documents into a state computer system, Missouri lawmakers sent the governor legislation Wednesday that would force the department to stop.

Republican lawmakers began pushing for the measure after learning about the new license procedures early in the legislative session. The push accelerated in March after a Stoddard County man filed a lawsuit challenging the procedures. It said that scanning documents, such as birth certificates and concealed weapons permits, were an invasion of privacy.

Revenue Department officials said they provided increased security and cut down on fraud.

The bill passed the Senate 25-8 on Wednesday and the House earlier this week. It would prevent any future document scanning and would require the department to securely destroy any documents collected since September 2012.

The measure also would prevent any state agency from sharing the entire list of concealed weapons permit holders with the federal government.

The legislation now heads to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, whose administration has been under attack from Republicans over the new procedures. Nixon earlier halted the scanning of concealed weapons permits but said he would continue the procedure for other documents.

The department began scanning documents shortly after a clerk in a St. Joseph license office pleaded guilty Dec. 11 in a scheme to accept false identification documents that federal prosecutor say resulted in Missouri licenses being issued to more than 3,500 people living illegally in the United States.

Local license office clerks were required to scan documents that had previously just been shown by applicants to the clerks.