Missouri bill limiting municipal court fines faces roadblock

1 year 4 months 6 days ago March 16, 2016 Mar 16, 2016 Wednesday, March 16 2016 Wednesday, March 16, 2016 9:12:00 PM CDT in News
By: The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY - A proposal to limit Missouri's municipal court fines is facing some skepticism in the House after breezing through the Senate.

Senator Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, told a House panel Wednesday that cities across the state have abused ordinance fines to get money from poor residents in order to pad their budgets. He proposed capping those kinds of fines at $200 and limiting how much of those funds can go to city budgets.

But Republicans and Democrats on the committee said they worried about the bill's unintended consequences.

Representative Nick Marshall, R-Parkville, said capping fines could make it harder for prosecutors to reach plea deals, which could back up the court system.

And Representative Mike Colona, D-St. Louis, said lower fines won't motivate landlords to tend to dilapidated properties.

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