Gov. Jay Nixon today signed three pieces of legislation into law, including a bill that will increase government efficiency by doing away with printed copies of the Official Missouri Manual - often called the Blue Book - and free printed copies of the Revised Statutes of Missouri. The move is expected to save the state of Missouri approximately $1.7 million over the next two fiscal years.
In signing House Bill 1965, the Governor said that the online availability of both the Blue Book and state statutes at mo.gov have made the costs of printing and distributing hard copies of those publications unnecessary.
"Missourians have had quick, easy and searchable access to the Blue Book and our state laws through the state of Missouri website for several years, and the need and demand for paper copies was no longer there," Gov. Nixon said. "This is a common-sense change that will save taxpayer money."
HB 1965 eliminates the mandates requiring the printing and publication of the Blue Book and the distribution of free copies of the Revised Statutes of Missouri in paper form. Under the previous law, the Secretary of State had been required to publish 40,000 copies of the Blue Book.
The Blue Book, which contains information about Missouri state government, is produced every other year. The printing and publication cost has been a $500,000 line item in even-numbered fiscal years. The hard-bound versions of the Revised Statutes of Missouri were required by law to be printed and published every 10 years; approximately $1.2 million will be saved in FY2011 by not printing the statutes.
In addition, HB 1965 also furthers Gov. Nixon's push for government efficiency by eliminating nine state-level commissions and committees which either were duplicated by other state government agencies, had already served their purposes, or never met, including two expired legislative joint committees, the Missouri Senior Advocacy and Efficiency Commission, the Highway Reciprocity Commission, the Transportation Redevelopment Commission, the Rural Economic Development Council, the VIDEO Instruction Advisory Committee, the Task Force on Alternative Sentencing and the Thomas Hart Benton Commission. Repealing these commissions will eliminate 130 members.
Gov. Nixon already eliminated dozens of such commissions by executive order earlier this year; others targeted by the Governor were proposed for statutory elimination during the past legislative session.
In an effort to streamline sections of state law, the bill also repealed 203 miscellaneous statutes, many of which were outdated or obsolete. For example, a section enacted in 1939 dealing with steamboats was repealed, as was a section dealing with train cabooses enacted in 1909, and county authority over billiard tables in 1909.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Cole McNary (R-Chesterfield) and handled in the Senate by Sen. Jane Cunningham (R-St. Louis County).
The Governor also signed two other bills today:
House Bill 1643
This legislation requires that anyone wishing to purchase a recorded document generated since Jan. 1, 1970, do so from the recorder of deeds office in which they were recorded, instead of from the Secretary of State. The bill also allows the recorder of deeds in Jackson County to collect a voluntary donation of $1 per recorded document. The money will be donated to the Housing Resource Commission in Kansas City to assist homeless families. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Michael Brown (D-Kansas City) and handled in the Senate by Sen. Yvonne Wilson (D-Kansas City).
House Bill 2070
This legislation allows fire and emergency services boards across the state to use revenue collected from a central fire and emergency dispatching services property tax for equipment and services. With the exception of St. Louis County, the previous law restricted the use of those funds solely for a joint central fire and emergency dispatching services.
The bill also contains a provision that results in a tax cut on food sales in St. Louis County. Last November, voters in the county approved an emergency services retail sales tax to be implemented in April 2010. HB 2070 excludes food sales from that tax. An additional provision allows fire protection districts in Jefferson County that already have a property tax to seek voter approval to use that tax revenue for general revenue purposes, as opposed to only emergency communications.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) and handled in the Senate by Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia).