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Missouri defends law capping cities’ traffic ticket revenue

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Twelve cities are arguing a state law capping how much revenue municipalities can draw from traffic tickets unfairly singles out the St. Louis area and violates the state constitution.

A Cole County judge heard arguments Friday over whether to put the law on hold. Missouri enacted the law after the unrest in Ferguson highlighted policing tactics in St. Louis County, and the U.S. Department of Justice concluded municipal courts had become profit-driven.

An attorney for the cities argued that requiring accreditation for their police departments would cost thousands. He said since the state isn’t offering to pay for accreditation, the law is unconstitutional.

The attorney general’s office argued that cities aren’t required to have a police department because they can contract services from other law enforcement agencies.