For Immediate Release:
Feb. 4, 2015

Contact: Kack Haslag
(573) 751-2853

Sen. Schmitt's Bill to Make Traffic Fines Fairer
Voted Out of Senate Committee

JEFFERSON CITY—The Senate Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government Committee today approved Senate Bill 5, legislation sponsored by Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, which would reduce how much a municipality can fund its budget with traffic fines. Currently, a municipality may fund up to 30 percent of its budget with traffic fines. Senator Schmitt’s bill would reduce that amount to 10 percent.

“It is imperative we rein in the ongoing practice of municipalities—especially in the St. Louis area—of drumming up local revenue through a rigged system of excessively issuing traffic tickets, which is extracting more each year from the citizens these cities purportedly serve,” said Sen. Schmitt. “Enforcing public safety should not be used as a scheme to fund bloated local governments. Furthermore, this trend falls hardest on lower-income citizens. This abusive system must be reformed.”

During the committee process, Senate Bill 5 was slightly amended. Among the added provisions was the creation of a penalty if political subdivisions do not remit money over the threshold:  municipal disincorporation through a ballot vote and the Missouri Department of Revenue would retain sales tax revenue the city should have remitted to the county schools.

The committee substitute for the bill also phases in revenue threshold reductions; 20 percent in 2016, followed by 10 percent in 2017. Additionally, all fines on interstate highways across Missouri will go directly to county schools, and will not be retained by the municipalities at all.

Municipal court reform was pegged as one of the Legislature’s main priorities at the beginning of the 2015 session.

Senator Schmitt, who has led the effort, said the bill is about protecting citizens from cities that are writing tickets to simply fund bloated and inefficient government.

With Senate Bill 5 having received committee approval, it now moves to the Senate formal calendar for possible debate by the full Senate.

For more information on Sen. Schmitt’s legislative efforts, visit his official Senate website at