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Missouri Senate advances bill to limit fines in city budgets

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A measure to limit how much revenue a Missouri city can collect from traffic fines has gained initial Senate approval.

The state Senate by a voice vote on Tuesday approved legislation to reduce the amount of general revenue Missouri cities and towns can collect from citations from 30 percent to 10 percent.

Changing how traffic fines are handled is one of the demands from protesters following the fatal police shooting of black 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson.

Brown was walking before he was shot by a white police officer, but his death raised concerns about police harassment in the predominantly black community.

Lawmakers also have said unpaid fines can mean low-income offenders are unfairly jailed.

The bill needs a second full Senate vote before it can move to the House.