St. Louis County cities fighting traffic fine limits in court -

St. Louis County cities fighting traffic fine limits in court

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Credit: KMOV Credit: KMOV

The state senator who wrote a municipal court reform bill is criticizing the effort to overturn it.

Senate Bill 5 caps the amount of revenue communities can collect from traffic fines, now several St. Louis County towns are challenging the new law on grounds it violates the state constitution.

Glendale Republican Senator Eric Schmitt doesn't hide his disgust with the lawsuit fighting his bill.

"The fact that some of these cities are using taxpayer money to hire a Philadelphia lawyer to sue against the very reforms that are meant to benefit their citizenry is ridiculous."

Governor Jay Nixon signed SB 5 into law in July, and David Pittinskey, the Philadelphia attorney for the plaintiffs, says this was specific attack on the county.

“We all know why the legislature, by the way, didn't put 12-and-a-half percent on all the municipalities in Missouri. They didn't do it because they couldn't get the votes for it. So what they did is they targeted St. Louis county," he said.

The bill also requires all St. Louis County municipal police departments to be professionally accredited. The towns say that's an unfunded mandate, but Schmitt says there is no mandate because there's no legal requirement that towns provide police services.

“These are groundbreaking reforms and what we did with Senate Bill 5, there's other states calling us and asking us what we did to crack down on what I call taxation by citation."

The Cole County judge is still considering the lawsuit, but Schmitt and other lawmakers are already working on similar legislation for this session. It would limit how much money towns can collect from ordinance violations.

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