The lawyers of Jackson County are now becoming veterans of the new “efiling” (short for electronic filing) system that is being implemented statewide in Missouri.

In March, we were one of the first counties in the state to use the new system, by implementing it for all civil cases filed in Jackson County, and it wasn't optional.

Like most things new, mandatory and technology based, I wasn't exactly overjoyed. In fact, I was pretty much reluctant, resistant, concerned, and perhaps a bit grumpy at having to change over to this new and unfamiliar way of doing business in my chosen profession after all these years.

Because for more than two and a half decades, I had been generating pleadings and motions on paper, signing them, and mailing or delivering them to the courthouse for filing, along with an extra copy and a self-addressed stamped envelope, so I could receive back a file stamped copy for my file. Plus, as per court rule, I would also stuff envelopes to mail a copy to every other counsel of record in the case.

The Court would then take my paper pleading or motion, stick it in the Court file, stamp the extra copy, and mail it back to me.

What could be more efficient than that, for crying out loud?

Well, I must confess that now after six months, you can count me as a fan of this newfangled efiling system after all.

Instead of making copies of all of our pleadings and motions to be filed, stuffing envelopes, and either running them or mailing them to the courthouse to be filed, all we do is log into the efiling system on our computer, punch in our case, and hit “file”; and the document is filed, with copies emailed back to me, and to all counsel, with no copying, no envelopes and no postage.

I don't even have to get out of my chair.

In addition to saving time and money on postage, paper, and delivery, other benefits of the efiling system include reduced file storage needs at the courthouse, and 24 hour access to the Court's filing system and case files from the comfort of a computer terminal.

So here's to progress.

A bad bit of grandstanding 

I was very disappointed by our state legislature's passage of House Bill 436, which purported to nullify federal firearms legislation, make it a state crime for federal law enforcement officers to try to enforce those laws, and make it a crime for any newspaper to publish the identity of any person who owns a firearm.

Our Governor Nixon had the good sense and courage to veto this legislation last month, and has prevailed in the legislative battle to try to override that veto.

I am a firearms enthusiast and an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment; however, few things upset me more than political shenanigans that waste taxpayer money like pushing frivolous legislation like this that is not only ridiculous in its content and effect, but also undeniably unconstitutional, in order to make a political statement.

If the veto had been overridden, and the bill had become law, then the unconstitutionality of this nutso legislation would have to have been addressed by the courts, which would have certainly struck it down as unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause, the Commerce Clause and the First Amendment of the Constitution.

The obvious purpose and effect of such a course was not the legitimate promulgation of legislation for the benefit of our state, but a political ploy that will permit those behind it to attack those who had the courage not to support this ridiculous power play by saying “They want to take away your guns” come election time, and to attack the Courts which would have had the critical task of declaring this blatantly unconstitutional legislation to be just that, and strike it down.

What a waste of our legislative and judicial resources.

Ken Garten is a Blue Springs attorney. Email him at