Missouri Legislative Year in Review: revisions to municipal court statutes

Law

SB 5 Modifies Municipal Court system. Creates minimum standards for municipal governance and creates a remedy process for citizens who believe the minimum standards are not being met. Requires the presiding judge of the circuit court in which each municipal division is located to notify the clerk of the Supreme Court of the name and address of the municipal division by September 1, 2016. Requires the presiding judge of the circuit court in which each municipal division is located to notify the clerk of the Supreme Court if a municipality elects to abolish the municipal division. Requires the Missouri Supreme Court to develop rules regarding conflict of interest for any prosecutor, defense attorney, or judge that has a pending case before the municipal division of any circuit court. Create conditions for the prosecution of minor traffic violations including. Allows for a request for an income tax refund setoff for unpaid court costs, fines, fees, or other sums ordered by a municipal court in excess of twenty-five dollars. Replaces the restrictions on annual general operating revenue. Requires the limit on annual general operating revenue from traffic fines to be reduced from 30% to 20% effective January 1, 2016. St. Louis County and municipalities within that county are restricted to 12.5% of annual general operating revenue from traffic fines. Requires all counties, cities, towns, and villages to submit an addendum with their annual financial report to the State Auditor with an accounting of annual general operating revenue, total revenues from fines, bond forfeitures, and court costs for traffic violations, and the percent of annual general operating revenue from traffic violations. Requires all counties, cities, towns, and villages to submit an addendum signed by its municipal judge certifying substantial compliance with certain municipal court procedures. Provides that any county, city, town, or village failing to timely file or remit excess revenues from traffic fines shall not receive any amount of moneys to which the county, city, town, or village would otherwise be entitled to receive from local sales tax revenues or county sales tax pool revenues. Require an election automatically be held upon the question of disincorporation for any county, city, town, or village which has failed to remit excess revenues. Upon the affirmative vote of sixty percent of those persons voting on the question, the county governing body is required to disincorporate the city, town, or village.