Missouri Senate debates limiting municipal fines

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A bill capping municipal courts fines for ordinance violations has won initial approval in the Missouri Senate.

Senators debated the measure for more than two hours Tuesday before finalizing its language. It still needs a final vote before going to the House.

Bill sponsor Sen. Eric Schmitt said some cities in St. Louis County unreasonably enforce ordinance violations, such as barbequing on front lawns. He says those cities shouldn’t treat citations like a revenue stream.

His bill would place a $200 limit on fines for zoning infractions.

Democratic Sen. Jill Schupp questioned whether problems withcitations were as widespread as Schmitt claimed.

Sen. Kiki Curls, a Democrat, said the banks that own dilapidated buildings in her Kansas City district don’t need lower fines.