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September 01, 2015

Missouri Department of Revenue takes action to implement municipal court reform

Thousands of driver's licenses have been reinstated as part of reform efforts

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Revenue today filed an emergency rule to direct local governments in the process of implementing municipal court reforms required by Senate Bill No. 5. The emergency rule filed today directs local governments regarding the process of remitting excess revenue they receive from fines, bond forfeitures and court costs associated with minor traffic violations.

The emergency rule will go into effect Sept. 11.

Senate Bill No. 5, signed by Gov. Nixon on July 9, lowers the percentage of annual general operating revenue cities, towns, villages, and counties are allowed to retain from minor traffic violations.  Revenue in excess of these statutory limits must be remitted to the Department of Revenue. Senate Bill No. 5 also establishes a cap on fines and court costs for minor traffic offenses and prohibits courts from suspending drivers' licenses for failure to appear in court or failure to pay a fine for a minor traffic violation.

"This rule sets out the requirements for remitting excess  revenue and directs local governments as they work to make the changes required under this landmark legislation," said Revenue Department Director Nia Ray. "The Missouri Department of Revenue will do its part within this comprehensive and multi-faceted effort to reform and improve our justice system at its most basic level - local government."

Additionally, the Department has received orders from several municipal courts removing license suspensions that had been imposed for reasons such as failure to appear in court. As of Sept. 1, the department has reinstated more than 6,000 drivers' licenses. Formal notices are being mailed to affected individuals to notify them of the municipal court action.

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