A bipartisan coalition of Missouri House members is planning to sign on to a budget amendment that would prohibit the Department of Public Safety from using any state or federal money for "political profiling."
Springfield Rep. Bob Dixon tells The Notebook that the proposed amendment will be offered on the floor Wednesday in response to the political firestorm over the MIAC security report.
Dixon said several meetings were held at the state Capitol on Tuesday to discuss how best to respond to lawmakers problems with the language included. "It's just outrageous. The report is so sloppy. When you begin going into specific political candidates, it's really on the edge. Like Big Brother. It's got a lot of people upset," Dixon said in an interview.
Dixon said that there's strong bipartisan support for the amendment. "It will be a unified response," Dixon said.
Rep. Jim Guest will offer the amendment on the floor Wednesday during debate over HB 8. Rep. Chris Kelly will be the leading Democrat to sign on.
The amendment reads the following: AMEND House Committee Substitute for House Bill No. 8, Page 1, Sec. 8.005, Line 5, by adding immediately after the word "Equipment" the following . . . "and provided the Missouri Department of Public Safety shall not spend state or federal funds for political profiling."
There was some discussion within the coalition to try to draft an amendment that would reduce the Missouri Information Analysis Center's budget and move funds to a Cybercrime task force -- but Dixon said that approach was rejected after some discussion.
ALSO: NIXON STILL STANDS BY REPORT
In a follow-up with spokesman Jack Cardetti Tuesday, he said that Governor Nixon still stands by the report but agrees that "it could have been done better."
"The Governor believes that law enforcement officials have one of the most dangerous, difficult jobs in society . . . and should have more information, not less," Cardetti said. When pressed on specific characteristics, Cardetti responded, "He certainly believes portions could have been explained or worded better."
Cardetti said specific questions should be directed to the Department of Public Safety.
The Notebook asked the Department of Public Safety to elaborate on some of the specific characteristics listed in the report, including .”Christian Identity, Militant Abortion, Tax resistors, Anti-immigration.”
SPOKESMAN MIKE O'CONNELL E-MAILED THIS RESPONSE:
"I sent you the Director’s letter yesterday. As is mentioned in the letter, law enforcement officers "do the most dangerous job of anyone in our society and regularly put themselves in the path of great danger, bodily harm and death to protect innocent citizens. As such, it is our regular practice to provide as much information as we can to law enforcement agencies and their officers so they are fully cognizant of any situational hazard which they may encounter."
REPUBLICANS: APOLOGY DOESN'T GO FAR ENOUGH
"A tepid apology from the Director of the Department of Public Safety does not go far enough in assuring Missourians that they will not be targeted by law enforcement for holding mainstream views," said David Cole, Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party in a statement Tuesday. "Gov. Nixon unequivocally defended this report after its release. It is time for him to offer a public apology and unconditional retraction."
DEVELOPING . . .
DEVELOPING . . .