A huge jump in the fees charged to obtain driver’s license and motor vehicle records instituted by the Department of Revenue has come under fire in the legislature.

Three companies that routinely buy the records in bulk have already sued the department, claiming the sharp increase violates the state Open Records law as well as the state and federal constitutions. Revenue Department officials raised the fee charged to obtain the records from $1.25 to $7 May 1 st . They eliminated a deep discount given for bulk purchases.

Members of the Missouri House harshly criticized the department for its actions. Some members contend the increases will hurt consumers. Certain firms purchase the records and sell them to insurance companies and companies that keep track of car histories. One representative predicted the increases, if allowed to stand, will prove counter-productive, because firms would no longer purchase them.

Department officials have contended they need to increase the fees to pay for a new computer system.

The House has overwhelmingly approved a measure to prevent the Revenue Department from increasing the fees any more than a fraction of a cent for bulk sales. The measure has been attached to a property tax relief bill, SB 711 . That bill is in conference with House and Senate negotiators. The outcome of the amendment is uncertain.