02/07/19 -- HCS HB 67 -- Municipal Court Reform

Bill Number: 
HCS HB 67
Bill Purpose: 
Municipal Court Reform
Date of Vote: 
02/07/19
My Vote: 
Yes
Explanation: 

HB 67, introduced by Representative Dean Plocher (Republican - District 89) provides for several needed reforms to Missouri's municipal courts system including;

  • Prohibiting municipal judges, court personnel, or prosecutors from having the authority to hire, fire, or discipline probation officers or personnel.
  • Prohibiting larger counties from having the same person concurrently serve as both prosecuting attorney and city attorney.
  • Allowing courts to waive or reduce fines or sentences of those already held in custody as a result of a minor traffic violation.
  • Requiring citations or summons on minor traffic violations to be re-issued if the original notice to appear did not properly specify the date and time the defendant is required to appear.

The last provision is especially important, as in many cases tickets have been written with no information regarding a court date included - the defendant may as a result miss their court appearance, and have an arrest warrant issued against them as a result.

While this bill might not have gone as far as I might have liked, it's a great first step in reforming our local court system, and accordingly I voted yes.  It passed overwhelmingly.