JEFFERSON CITY — The state agency that issues driver's licenses did not take steps to comply with the Real ID Act after the governor signed a law prohibiting Missouri officials from trying to implement the federal proof-of-identity law, the department's former director said Wednesday.
Alana Barragan-Scott, who led the Missouri Department of Revenue from July 2009 through late December 2012, testified for several hours at the state Capitol before two investigatory committees. The panels are examining whether Missouri officials have tried to comply with Real ID despite the 2009 state law.
Real ID, an anti-terrorism law approved in 2005, sets strict rules for what states must require for photo identification cards that are accepted to board plans or enter federal buildings. Opponents in Missouri and other states contend the federal government exceeded its authority.
Barragan-Scott said multiple times that officials did not take seek to comply with the federal law. She said driver's licenses and the process for issuing them must be secure, and that the 2009 state law does not bar efforts to improve security.
The two investigative committees resulted from a months-long controversy arising after a December 2012 decision by Gov. Jay Nixon's administration to begin making electronic copies of personal documents — such as birth certificates and concealed gun permits — that are shown to clerks by applicants for state driver's licenses or identification cards. The state also began using an out-of-state contractor to print and mail driver's licenses instead of issuing them on the spot to applicants.
Lawmakers have objected to the copying as a privacy invasion. The panels are comprised of lawmakers, law enforcement officials and others.
Nixon recently signed legislation ordering the Department of Revenue to immediately stop copying applicants' personal documents and to securely destroy by the end of the year the documents that it had previously copied.
The panels, meeting jointly Wednesday, also accepted sworn testimony from two officials who work in the governor's office.