By Ashley Jost
This testimony is one of the different means the legislature is using to better understand what caused the restraining order and lawsuit in Stoddard County dealing with the Department of Revenue collecting and scanning personal documents, and release of the documents to Morpho Trust U.S.A., a company based in Georgia that has ties to the federal government.
During the testimony, Brian Long, director of the Department of Revenue, said the department does not share source documents with the federal government or third party vendors, nor do they have plans to do so.
“At the first suggestion [that] we were sharing source documents, I immediately asked this question of others [and] was repeatedly and independently assured that these scanned documents are not, nor are there plans to, shared with the federal government,” Long said.
DOR representatives said the department does scan and convert proof of residence documents into image files in order to connect to the state data center in Jefferson City, which Long said occurs in order to deter, detect and stop possible fraud.
Committee chairman Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, announced his hope for the committee investigating this report and any others across the state last Tuesday, the same day that Rep. Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, filed House Bill 787. HB787 aims to prohibit the DOR from scanning and transferring personal documents.
Since the suit was filed last Monday, a restraining order was signed against Elizabeth Rowland, a Stoddard County fee agent, to cease the scanning and release of personal documents. The preliminary injunction hearing for the restraining order will be held Tuesday morning in Stoddard County.
Additionally, the Senate Appropriations Committee planned to hold a special hearing at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday morning to ask questions to Long.
For more information or background about the lawsuit, be sure to look at last week’s stories at www.themissouritimes.com.
Reach Ashley Jost at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @ajost.
Ashley Jost is no longer with The Missouri Times. She worked as the executive editor for several months, and a reporter before that.