Nixon flips “privacy” rhetoric on GOP in workers’ compensation bill veto

Nixon flips “privacy” rhetoric on GOP in workers’ compensation bill veto: Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a workers’ compensation bill on Tuesday that he said would have “invaded Missourians’ privacy, required creation of new government database.”

The rhetoric came in the midst of a battle between Nixon and a Republican-led opposition critical of his administration’s Department of Revenue’s former practice of scanning personal documents, where Republicans accused Nixon of doing essentially the same thing.

The bill, Senate Bill 34 which was sponsored by Sen. Mike Cunningham, would have called on the government to establish a database of all Missouri workers who have filed for workers’ compensation claims for on the job injuries. The database would have been accessible to Missouri employers.

Nixon said there is a “stark contrast” between the rhetoric of lawmakers and their record.

“While professing to champion privacy rights, this General Assembly quietly passed a bill to create – and allow broad access to – a new electronic database containing the personal information of hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Missourians,” Nixon said in a statement. “This misguided legislation would have invaded Missourians’ right to privacy by making their personal information available to employers on a government website without their consent. Invading Missourians’ privacy will not grow our economy or move our state forward.”

His message was echoed Tuesday by the Missouri AFL-CIO, one of the state’s largest labor advocacy groups who opposed the legislation.

His veto came a day after Nixon signed another bill that disallowed the Missouri Department of Revenue from scanning personal documents.

Responding to the governor’s announcement yesterday, House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said it was a good step forward to prevent private data from being insecurely obtained.

“We must ensure that all information collected up to this point is securely destroyed to avoid future privacy risks,” he said. In addition, we must find out who was responsible for the decisions which put this information at risk, and we must hold them accountable. Only by finding the full extent of the problem can we come up with a permanent solution to prevent future privacy violations.”