New law limiting fines draws criticism

Governor Jay Nixon signed a bill on Friday expanding the reform of Missouri’s municipal courts that began last year, but critics say it’s not needed and politically motivated.

The bill caps how much cities can collect from citizens for minor ordinance violations. First-time offenses are limited to $200 fines and citizens can no longer be jailed for nonpayment.

Deputy Director Richard Sheets with the Missouri Municipal League said the bill would hurt cities, who he says use fines to get people to clean up properties.

“It really is going to be a problem with absentee slumlords and absentee owners that live out of the city, out of the state, that have properties they’re not maintaining, with such a low fine,” Sheets said.

Read more: Missourinet


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