Harris says the advertisements should be for vehicles made in Missouri, while Robb says those companies had the opportunity to advertise but did not take advantage of it.
Not mentioned by either of the representatives is the issue of whether Missourians should be receiving any advertising at all with their license fee renewal notices. As I noted in the June 5 Turner Report, the practice is the subject of a lawsuit that has been filed in federal court, which opened like this:
In documents filed May 16 in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Missouri Director of Revenue Trish Vincent denied violating drivers' privacy rights by allowing a marketing firm to include advertisements in driver's license renewal notices.
By making the decision to include advertising, the state saved more than half a million dollars, according to an April 3 Associated Press article:
Missouri residents Michele Poynter and Jan Bradstreet filed a lawsuit in federal court in Kansas City last month alleging that providing their information to the company violates a federal law protecting drivers' data.
“Defendants' disclosure of plaintiffs' personal information constitutes an invasion of privacy that violates the (federal law),” according to the lawsuit filed by Kansas City attorney Douglas Gentile.
The lawsuit says the Driver's Privacy Protection Act forbids disclosing personal information in motor vehicle records for “surveys, marketing materials or solicitations” without first obtaining people's consent.
The lawsuit seeks class-action status and damages of $2,500 per person whose information was improperly provided - in a state the lawsuit estimates has more than 2 million drivers.
The Revenue Department said Monday that advertisers have no access to Missourians' information, and that details the company gets are not considered private under the federal law.
The company gets a person's name, address and vehicle registration details, but not a Social Security number, age or other personal information, Revenue Department spokeswoman Maura Browning said.
Even if our state government is not releasing personal information to these companies, I still have a serious problem with the idea of offering these companies access through official government documents. What else will we sell in order to bring a few more bucks into the treasury?