Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, sponsored the legislation that was inspired in part by a St. Louis County municipality that reminded police officers that their pay checks were depended on how many tickets they wrote.
“I continually heard from law enforcement that nobody became a police officer to write traffic tickets all day, every day,” Schmitt said. “This reform will allow police officers to serve and protect their citizens, and not force them to focus on generating revenue for their cities. For too long, bureaucrats have subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, implemented traffic ticket quotas in their cities to drum up more and more revenue to keep their bureaucracies running.”
The bill was part of a series of efforts Schmitt has pursued for municipal reform. since the unrest in Ferguson
“This reform will protect citizens from being treated like ATMs by city officials looking to prop up their bloated local governments,” Schmitt said.
He’s often cited the story of Edmonston in his pursuit of this legislation and similar municipal court reform. Last year, a letter from the mayor of Edmundson to his police officers surfaced which implied the officers needed to write more tickets to raise revenue for the city, and to preserve their salaries.
“I wish to take this opportunity to remind you that the tickets that you write do add to the revenue on which the P.D. budget is established and will directly affect pay adjustments at budget time,” the mayor wrote in his letter. “As budget time approaches, please make a self evaluation of your work habits and motivations, then make the changes that you see that will be fair to yourself and the city.”
Schmitt said municipalities will have to find ways other than citations to fund their government functions.
“Bureaucrats are on notice that they cannot continue to rely on traffic tickets to pay for their bloated local governments,” Schmitt said. “Banning quotas will further protect citizens from taxation by citation schemes drawn up by bureaucrats.”
The bill was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers.