Some critics say the Legislature’s plan to limit the amount of revenue cities can get from traffic tickets and fines will be challenged in court because it would set a lower limit in St. Louis County than in the rest of Missouri.
Governor Jay Nixon (D) says the two-level approach isn’t a deal-breaker for the bill to get his signature, though he says it’s not what he had in mind.
“By far, some of the challenges in that part of the state, I don’t think we would be here today as far as getting a bill done.”
The bill would set that limit at 12.5% in St. Louis County and 20% in the rest of the state. There would also be a maximum limit for a traffic ticket violation and court costs to $300 collectively. The charge for failure to appear in court was dropped.
Senate sponsor Eric Schmitt (R-Glendale) said municipal courts have been too focused on generating revenue to cover city budgets.
“There are municipalities that are budgeting more for traffic tickets and fines for the next year. I think that’s a mentality that we’ve got to start to look at,” said Schmitt. “That isn’t what this country is supposed to be about. We have an opportunity, reflecting on what these injustices have been and the breakdown that has taken place between people and the trust that they have with their government and court system.”
The bill has been sent to the Governor.