Something no one saw coming from the Ferguson mess was reform of the Municipal Court system. Senator Schmidt has filed a bill to reduce the percentage of revenue a municipality can fund from traffic tickets. The mess with St. Louis having over 90 municipalities within the county, some with as few as 13 people, has created a maze of speed traps that is nearly unimaginable. They have no tax base to support the towns so the municipal courts serve as the revenue source to pay all the bills. The Governor called for reform, as did the Supreme Court Chief Justice. What that means for small counties is increased loads on Sheriffs' departments and emergency services as small towns are unable to maintain their own police and fire departments. There are some Senators and Representatives that believe as I do that we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water. I'm proposing that we reform St. Louis County first and see how that develops before we start experimenting with the entire state.
With Committee Hearings beginning this week, we are hearing about some really interesting proposals. Remember, there are generally over 1200 bills filed per year and only an average of 120 of them are passed. One that caught my eye was that Missouri residents would get fishing and hunting privileges for free. I'm sure that would make a lot of people happy, but none of them would be in the Conservation Department. This bill, like a lot of others to come may not have been carefully considered before filing. Remember last year's attempt to make the high five the State Handshake? The fun is just beginning. On a serious note, Senator Dempsey and I are sponsoring a Stewards of Children Training Session at the capitol on Wednesday. I hope to eventually make this available to every teacher in the State.