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Examiner
  • LeVota pushes for change in license tab law

  • It might not seem like the biggest crime or even a community development issue at all, but state Sen. Paul LeVota is looking to change state law about license tabs.



    “We’re going to change the rules a little bit to make it fair,” LeVota, D-Independence, said Friday at an Independence Chamber of Commerce legislative briefing.

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  • It might not seem like the biggest crime or even a community development issue at all, but state Sen. Paul LeVota is looking to change state law about license tabs.
    “We’re going to change the rules a little bit to make it fair,” LeVota, D-Independence, said Friday at an Independence Chamber of Commerce legislative briefing.
    Those tabs – the small, brightly colored license tags stickers drivers have to renew every year or two – get stolen, and to get a free replacement a driver has to show the state Department of Revenue a police report.
    The police duly include all that in crime data they have to report to the federal government, and city officials argue people and businesses looking to locate here might be misled by the raw numbers. To compound the issue, LeVota said, it turns out that the Department of Revenue isn’t enforcing that rule in the St. Louis area, meaning cities where the rule is in force could be put at a disadvantage.
    LeVota’s solution is to drop the police-report rule and have drivers sign an affivadit instead – a move the city of Independence has lobbied for in Jefferson City.
    “It paints a lot better picture of what’s going on,” City Manager Robert Heacock said.
    Some have suggested that the state have drivers put those stickers inside a window, but LeVota said the Missouri State Highway Patrol argues that would make things harder for law enforcement.
    Also Friday, Rep. Jeanie Lauer, R-Blue Springs, said she plans to file legislation to address gaps in funding for 911 service. Officials have long warned that funding has been falling because in Missouri only land lines are taxed for that service despite the massive shift to cell phones.
    “This has been an issue for many, many years,” Lauer said.
    Her legislation would allow taxes on land lines, or on any mobile device that can call 911, or a general tax – but with caps so no local jurisdiction could stack all of those taxes on users. It would allow counties to work together to get 911 service going. There are still parts of the state without trained dispatchers who can, for example, help a caller dealing with a heart attack.
    “You just assume that you can call 911 and it’s there,” Lauer said.
    Other updates:
    • Rep. Sheila Solon, R-Blue Springs, is again pushing for a lottery ticket with proceeds dedicated to veterans homes, cemeteries and outreach. It would raise about $6 million a year, she said.
    “So we’re hoping to get that passed this year,” she said.
    • Rep. Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City, said he’s “trying to level the playing field” to get small businesses some of the tax credits that large businesses enjoy.
    Page 2 of 2 - • There was discussion of a bill that would have the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education assign a letter grade school by school across the state, an idea some educators have dismissed as highly misleading. They point out that DESE collects and disseminates lots of information on how individual schools are doing – though Rep. Ira Anders, D-Independence, a former teacher and school board member, said DESE’s information isn’t always the easiest to decipher.
    “We are woriking with DESE to try to make their information better,” he said, adding that it’s unclear how far the letter-grade proposal will go.
     
     
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