|Missouri Bar President Reuben Shelton of St. Louis commended Gov. Jay Nixon’s signing today (July 9, 2015) of legislation aimed at improving citizens’ experiences within Missouri’s municipal courts. "Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, caps the total amount of fines that can be imposed including court costs to $300, prevents confinement for a person’s inability to pay their fines and requires municipalities to notify the Supreme Court of the creation, location and closure of municipal divisions among other things. The measure also reduces the threshold for the general operating revenue coming from traffic fines from 30 percent to 20 percent for cities, towns, villages or counties. St. Louis County and municipalities in that county will be restricted to no more than 12.5 percent of annual general operating revenue from traffic fines. The new limits take effect January 1, 2016.
"The primary role of municipal courts should be advancing justice and public safety,” Shelton said. “The Missouri Bar supports the concepts of a reasonable limit on revenue municipalities may derive from traffic revenue and preventing unreasonable detention for first-time offenses. Senate Bill 5 sets new limits when it comes to both and we believe this is an important step to making sure that every Missourian has faith that they will be treated equally and fairly in any court in our state.”
Shelton was appointed in May as one of two Missouri Bar representatives to serve on the Supreme Court of Missouri’s new Municipal Division Work Group charged with reviewing all matters pertaining to the state’s municipal court divisions, with ensuring public input and with making recommendations to improve the municipal court divisions statewide.