For Immediate Release:
Dec. 1, 2015

Contact: Kack Haslag
(573) 751-2853

Schmitt Sponsors Legislation to Stop New Wave of Taxation by Citation Schemes: Non-moving Ordinance Violation Revenue

Legislation Builds on Historic Municipal Court Reforms Passed in Last Session

JEFFERSON CITY - In an effort to preempt a new taxation by citation scheme employed by some municipalities, State Senator Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, introduced legislation to limit the amount of revenue municipalities can keep from all ordinance violations, which builds on the historic municipal court reforms passed in the last session.

“This reform of limiting a city’s revenue from all ordinance violations will further restore justice to our municipal courts,” Schmitt said. “It is unconscionable cities would use fine money - whether from traffic tickets or silly violations like the location of one’s barbecue grill or the way their blinds are hanging - to prop up bloated bureaucracies. It is also disturbing to me to know that local bureaucrats are roaming neighborhoods looking at the yards and windows of private homes seeking new revenue. Missourians have had enough of the big government mentality of small governments who are shaking down residents, especially poor and disadvantaged citizens, to prop up their budgets and hold onto power."

Senator Schmitt expressed concern that local governments would launch a new wave of taxation schemes to make up for revenue they will lose after passage of his reform ending traffic ticket schemes.

The new reform legislation, filed today, would further limit municipalities from engaging in predatory practices and would limit how much revenue they can keep from not only traffic violations, but also other ordinance violations - such as letting your grass grow too high.

In 2015, the legislature enacted Senate Bill 5, which reduced the amount of revenue municipalities can keep from traffic tickets and fines. That reform aimed to stop predatory policing and court practices where municipalities raised as much as half of their revenue from traffic tickets and fines.

In addition to limiting the revenue municipalities can raise from non-moving ordinance violations, Sen. Schmitt will also file legislation that will prohibit traffic ticket quotas from being used.

“Local governments exist to serve their citizens,” Schmitt said. “There is a need for enforcement of the law, but when enforcement turns into profiteering and bullying, we can no longer stand idly by while our fellow residents are exploited and our communities are so negatively impacted.”