For as long as most of us can remember, Franklin County has had a debt collection problem with people who owe fees charged while they were incarcerated in the county jail. These deadbeats owe about $3.5 million in the 20th Judicial Circuit, which takes in Franklin, Gasconade and Osage counties.

The prospects of collecting these fees in most cases are not good.

There is a bill pending in the Missouri Legislature that should help to collect some of these debts. If a person owes this kind of debt, the bill provides that he or she would not be able to obtain a hunting or fishing license in the state until the jail bills were paid. The bill also provides that the deadbeats would have to turn any lottery winnings or income tax refunds over to the counties to pay off their debts. The former jail inmates owing money to the counties also could not get a concealed gun permit until they paid their jail fees.

Members of the General Assembly should pass this legislation and the governor should sign this proposed bill. Why should these people be allowed to obtain state benefits when they owe the counties money. It’s time for these deadbeats to pay up! Members of the General Assembly should recognize this!