New Legislation Sought By the City of Springfield
Reverse Certain Provisions of Senate Bill 5 in 2015
The City asks our local delegation to introduce and support legislation that will reverse the damage done to municipalities that were seemingly punished for municipal court policies and procedures occurring in another portion of the state.
Section 302.341.2’s RSMo elimination of the FACT (Failure to Appear in Court for Traffic Violation) license suspension procedure (302.341.1) for “minor traffic violations” should be reversed and reinstated. Most “traffic violations” are
“minor traffic violations.” In lieu of this FACT process, arrest warrants are now being issued for defendants who fail to pay or fail to appear on minor traffic violations. The FACT process is much more gentle and provides a 30-day warning/grace period which gives defendants a chance to address their case before their license is actually suspended. Additionally, we have found a much higher compliance rate with the FACT process than with the warrant process. Under current law, arrest warrants are being immediately issued.
Section 479.353(3) RSMo and 479.360.1(3) RSMo prohibiting the use of incarceration to enforce money judgments should be clarified and harmonized with Missouri Supreme Court Rule 37.65 (effective July 1, 2015). This newly-amended rule specifically addresses non-paying defendants and allows show-cause orders to issue arrest warrants for failure to appear to show cause, and confinement up to 30 days if the “defendant intentionally refused to obey the sentence of the court or to have made a good faith effort to obtain the Meaningful Ethics Reform
The City of Springfield asks our local delegation to introduce and support legislation that will implement meaningful ethics reform within the General Assembly.
State-wide Tobacco Tax Increase
The City of Springfield asks our local delegation to introduce and support legislation that will increase the State tobacco tax. Missouri has the lowest tobacco tax in the country, resulting in a loss of potential revenue and increasing public health
costs. Smoking is the leading cause of fires and fire deaths in Springfield. The City supports any additional revenue generated be dedicated to funding fire prevention and public health services.
Local Control of Tobacco Taxing Authority
The City of Springfield asks our local delegation to introduce and support legislation that will allow local jurisdictions to control the taxing of tobacco products.
Testimony via Teleconference
The City of Springfield encourages the House and Senate Committee to utilize testimony to legislative committees via interactive video teleconference in order to reduce the amount of taxpayer money expended for public officials and staff to travel to and from the Capital. Often, public officials and staff must spend the majority of a day traveling in order to provide ten minutes of testimony on a bill.
Clarify Tax “Repeal” Ballot Language
The City of Springfield requests that the State-defined “repeal” ballot language be clarified from “Do you want to repeal the tax?” to “Do you want to continue the tax?” to minimize voter confusion.
Authorize an Increase in the City of Springfield’s Municipal Court Cost
The Springfield Municipal Court’s $12.00 court cost has been the same since at least 1979. The resulting revenue does not fully cover the cost of these services, thus requiring a subsidization from the City’s General Fund.
Update of Sunshine Law
The state’s Sunshine Law needs to be updated to reflect new technologies, including social media. The City of Springfield requests an additional exemption for documents listing vacant and open buildings inside the City limits.
Revisions to dangerous building statutes
The requested changes will allow the use of UPS, FedEx, and other alternatives to certified mail in dangerous building cases; adds the board-up costs, unpaid permit fees, and associated costs to real-estate taxes in dangerous building cases.
Return Local Control of Telecommunication Tower Placement
During the 2013, 2014, and 2015 legislative sessions, special interests were able to get bills passed that removed a significant amount of local control from municipalities regarding telecommunication tower locating and permitting. The City asks our local delegation to introduce and support legislation that will return local control to municipalities.
Pay Day Loans
The City asks our local delegation to introduce and support legislation that will cap the amount of interest that can be charged by pay-day loan and car title loan companies that tend to prey on the poor. According to the State Commissioner of Finance’s report to the Governor, the average interest rate for “pay day” loans in Missouri in 2014 was 451%.
Return of Election Dates
The City requests our local delegation introduce and support legislation that would return the February and June election options to local municipalities. The City feels the previous elimination of these election options was an erosion of local control.
Support for Water Quality Pollutant Trading
The City asks our local delegation to introduce or support concise legislation that will authorize water quality pollutant trading. Such trading will accelerate water quality improvements at the least cost to citizens of Missouri. Similar programs have been adopted in numerous other states with US EPA’s support. This is necessary for Missouri to participate in Water Quality Trading.
Internet Sales Tax
The City asks our local delegation to introduce and support legislation that will “level the playing field” by implementing a sales tax on Internet sales.
Clarify State Statutes on Nuisance Issues
The City asks our local delegation to introduce and support a bill that will clarify the state’s intent to allow municipalities to recover costs associated with processing nuisance actions.
The City of Springfield asks our local delegation to introduce and support a bill to allow Missouri to implement Medicaid expansion.