The state legislature wants the state Highway Patrol to have to get its blessing before it makes any more big vehicle purchases.
The Patrol has a fund controlled by its superintendent that it can use to purchase cars, boats and planes. It used that fund in December to purchase a $5.6-million plane that Republicans suggest the Governor Jay Nixon told it to buy.
The General Assembly has sent the Governor a bill (SB 236) that would require the Patrol to get legislative approval to make purchases of any one vehicle that costs more than $100,000.
The House handler of the bill, Representative Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton) says it’s about fiscal responsibility.
“We want to be sure that we can demonstrate to the taxpayer of Missouri how money in excess of $100,000 is being spent.”
Representative Mike Colona (D-St. Louis City) says the legislation is about House Republicans disapproving of the purchase of that plane.
“We have a history this legislative session of throwing temper tantrums. We’re only going to find the [Department of Revenue Division of Motor Vehicles] for eight months because we’re throwing a temper tantrum. We don’t like what’s going on. We don’t like the fact that the Highway Patrol bought a plane … so we’re going to throw a temper tantrum and say, ‘No, no, no! You’re going to ask me before you spend any money, dang it.’”
The Patrol testified to a House Committee that it had no objection to the change.
The bill also requires that the Patrol pay for maintenance out of that fund rather than just purchases.
The proposal has gone to the Governor.