October 30, 2014

Nixon calls concealed carry situation ‘kerfuffle,’ distraction from Medicaid expansion (AUDIO)

Governor Jay Nixon says he was focused on security and privacy when he made the decision to have the Department of Revenue stop scanning qualification certificates for concealed carry endorsements. When pressed for details on related issues, however, Nixon became agitated and told reporters the issues regarding CCW information scans and dissemination are just a distraction from the issue of Medicaid expansion.

Governor Jay Nixon fields questions from reporters about CCW scans and their handling after speaking at a Medicaid expansion rally in the State Capitol Rotunda.

Governor Jay Nixon fields questions from reporters about CCW scans and their handling after speaking at a Medicaid expansion rally in the State Capitol Rotunda.

Nixon, fielding questions after speaking to an estimated 1,200 people at a Medicaid expansion rally in the State Capitol, told reporters, “What you’re seeing is a major kerfuffle to try to change not only the public’s focus of attention over something that is in this corner and to ignore what just has happened right here,” referring to the rally.

Nixon’s announcement Tuesday morning says the Department will quit scanning those certificates of qualification, but the Department has said it will continue to scan other documents. Nixon says the Department will work with policy makers to decide how to move forward.

“Those records are used, and quite frankly records in the public sector are used a lot, to make sure that public safety is protected whether its background checks and all the other stuff that are out there, and law enforcement purposes.”

The Revenue Department has testified to a House Committee that concealed carry and driver’s license applicant information that has been scanned is being stored in the state data center in Jefferson City. The Department has said it will find and delete the CCW qualifying certificates from that database.

Asked whether copies of other documents that have been scanned will be destroyed, Nixon again defers, “I’ll leave that to the Department of Revenue to go through any other details.”

Asked about Nixon’s assessment that the CCW situation is merely a distraction from Medicaid expansion, Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) says it’s a serious issue.

“I would say that is a gross misunderstanding of the concerns of the public, on the behalf of the Governor.”

Schaefer says Nixon needs to act further.

“The Governor is responsible directly for what happens at the Department of Revenue including the Department of Motor Vehicles. At some point the Governor is going to have to step up the plate. He’s going to have to be frank with Missourians about what is being done with their personal information and say whether or not he thinks this new policy of keeping personal information and sharing it with outside sources in violation of state law is a good thing or a bad thing.”

Nixon says lawmakers need to spend more time talking about Medicaid expansion, calling it “the most significant public policy issue” he’s faced in 26 years.

“It’s time folks got back to work here and focused on what needs to get done. What needs to get done is we need to get $2 billion dollars down, we need to get downward pressure on healthcare premiums, we need to improve Medicaid. That is the key issue of this session.”

AUDIO: Hear the complete Q & A between reporters and Nixon, 4:14