Bipartisan legislation extending the sunset provisions for fees into the state’s technology trust fund has been approved by the Missouri Senate Economic Development Committee this week in Jefferson City.

House Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr prepares to testify at the Statehouse on April 4, 2017 (Brian Hauswirth photo)

The vote was unanimous.

House Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr (R-Springfield) tells senators the bill is critical to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s (R) office.

“This is a continuation of the technology trust fund for the Secretary of State,” Haahr says. “Allows the Secretary of State to assess a fee with which they use to update the technology through their office. They do not need to use general revenue dollars.”

Haahr says it was last extended in 2008.

Ashcroft’s Executive Deputy, Trish Vincent, says this is critical for the Secretary of State’s office. Vincent testifies the fund allows them to implement technology to allow 24-7 filing of business services and notary. Vincent also notes it subsidizes their office for computers, technology, archives and libraries.

The fund is scheduled to sunset at the end of the calendar year. Haahr’s bill extends the sunset provisions from December 2017 to 2025.

The Secretary of State’s office can assess a fee, which is used to upgrade office technology.

State Sen. John Rizzo (D-Kansas City) asked Pro Tem Haahr about the fund during this week’s Senate hearing.

“I’m just curious, how much money has that yielded?”, Rizzo asked. “Roughly, it runs approximately about two and a half million dollars a year. 2016 it was $2.7 (million). 2015 $2.5 (million),” Haahr responds.

Haahr says the money has ranged from $2.3 million to about $2.7 million, since 2000.

Rizzo and the rest of the Senate Economic Development Committee voted 8-0 to approve Haahr’s bill.

Across the Rotunda, the Missouri House voted 144-5 in late March to approve the legislation.