JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) – A Virginia company claims a law limiting how much the state of Missouri can charge for copies of the state’s drivers license records database is unconstitutional in a lawsuit filed in Cole County Court. BearingPoint says the fee limit is unconstitutional because it was added to a bill that dealt with property taxes.
The Missouri Constitution requires bills to cover a single subject that is clearly stated in the bill’s title. The bill, which takes effect Aug. 28, requires cities, school districts and other pubic entities to cut their tax rates when property values rise. The disputed part limits the fee for bulk purchases of Department of Revenue records at a half-penny per record, or $22,500 for the entire drivers license database.
Lawmakers in May approved a provision to raise the rate to $7 a record, or $28 million for the database. BearingPoint would keep $1 out of every $7 pursuant to a state contract. BearingPoint in turn was to develop a $50 million web-based system for drivers license and motor vehicle records.
But Circuit Judge Richard Callahan threw out the $7 fee in June, ruling that it violated the Sunshine Law, which limits fees for public records to the cost of copies, staff time and programming. The property tax portion of the bill should not be affected by the suit.