AIM supports bill requiring MDNR to "show their work" on fine calculations and revising fees
January 25, 2021 - Associated Industries of Missouri President and CEO Ray McCarty testified in support of SB 40, sponsored by Sen. Eric Burlison, today in the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee, chaired by Sen,. Mike Bernskoetter.
The bill accomplishes two main purposes.
First, the bill would require the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to "show their work" when levying fines and penalties. McCarty testified that the MDNR showed how they arrived at such calculations until recently deciding that they would only furnish that information on appeal.
Second, the bill would move the expiration date of a process used to set fees that support various programs of the MDNR from 2024 to 2021. The current bill would also sunset the fee increases adopted under the method, but McCarty testified that should be removed.
"The Missouri Department of Natural Resources needs to be responsive to the legislature like all other agencies," said McCarty in testimony before the Committee. "You have control of most other agencies, except the ones that have dedicated fees, such as MoDOT and the MDNR. Those agencies are supported by dedicated fees, meaning the money cannot be used for anything else, and you therefore lose the accountability that exists with other agencies that depend on you to appropriate money from General Revenue. This bill would restore the process used before the stakeholder process was initiated, meaning all fee increases would need to be passed by the legislature following open hearings, just like all other bills. This will make the agency more accountable to you and your constituents," said McCarty.
The Committee took no action on the bill today.