State lawmakers have limited the spending authority of the Missouri State Highway Patrol over frustration concerning the purchase of a new airplane frequently used by the governor.
A new law taking effect Aug. 28 will require the patrol to get legislative approval before spending more than $100,000 from a special state fund on any vehicle.
The new restrictions come after lawmakers complained that they were not told in advance about the patrol's purchase last December of a new $5.6 million airplane. Records show that Nixon has flown on the plane frequently.
After receiving a tepid response from the FAA on the prospect of changing rules to allow electronic devices like iPads and Kindles to be used throughout a flight, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) announced that she is beginning to craft legislation instead.
Colonel Ron Replogle told House budget writers that it was his idea to buy the $5.6 million aircraft. More than one committee member asked him about the quick timetable on the plane’s purchase, as the bid went out around December 6th and was awarded on the 17th. Replogle says Beechcraft was offering a discount on that particular King Air 250 because it was a year-old model.
Some Republicans in the State Senate are expressing outrage that the Missouri Highway Patrol spent more than $5.5 million on a new airplane that could be used by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon and other elected state officials.