Municipal Issue Report Articles

To view archive of full Municipal Reports, click here.

St. Louis County enacted an ordinance making it unlawful "for any person to interfere in any manner with a police the performance of his official duties or to obstruct him in any manner whatsoever while performing any duty." County police officers arrested protesters at an anti-police-brutality protest outside of the Ferguson Police Department. The protesters were charged with violating the ordinance, and argued that the ordinance was unconstitutionally vague and over broad, and violated free speech. The Missouri Court of appeals, in Bennett and Frazier v. St. Louis County, ED105470 (Mo. App. E.D. Dec. 19, 2017),held that the ordinance was not over broad, and the "mere possibility" that the ordinance might prohibit constitutionally-protected speech did not render it unconstitutional. The Court also rejected the argument that the phrases "interfere in any manner" and "obstruct in any way whatsoever" were impermissibly vague, because an "ordinance person of common intelligence has sufficient...notice of what conduct is prohibited by the Ordinance: physically interfering with or obstructing a police officer in their official duties." The Court noted that given the "wide variety of circumstances and physical conduct which confront law enforcement" the County likely could not have drafted more limiting language than it had. The protesters have requested a transfer to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Several bills are pending in the Missouri legislature that may have significant impact on municipal interests, including the following:

“Small Cell” Wireless Bill (HB 1991): This bill would modify state law related to municipal control and regulation of wireless communications infrastructure. The most current version of the bill contains the following potential impacts:

  • Expands preemption of zoning for collocations even to “immediately adjacent” area to wireless support structures or utility poles.

  • Allows collocation of small wireless facilities (up to 28 + 6 = 34 cubic feet, and up to 50 feet high) AS OF RIGHT in certain zoning districts, including in the ROW in residential districts. This means equipment the size of a 4’x8’ sheet of plywood, one foot thick, can be placed in front of someone’s house without zoning!

  • Allows replacement of certain poles for collocation of small wireless facilities without zoning review or approval.

  • Applications for collocations deemed approved if not acted upon within 45 days; applications for new, modified, or replacement poles deemed approved if not acted upon within 60 days.

  • Applications for small wireless facilities may include up to 20 separate small wireless facilities, if “geographically proximate.”

  • Mandates a guarantee of a small wireless facility location for at least 10 years.

  • Seeks to wipe out all fees and compensation, except for narrow exceptions, such as rent on City Poles for small wireless antennas to $35/year per antenna.

  • Seeks to limit application fees to $100/small wireless facility, and for installation, modification, or replacement of a utility pole limit of $500/pole.

This bill has already passed the House, therefore, if you are concerned about any of these provisions, you need to contact your State Senator immediately.

“Shot Clock” for Residential Building Plans and Certificates of Occupancy (HB 2451): This bill contains strict requirements for review and action on building plans. For example:

  • Residential Building Plans:

  • signed & sealed by a Missouri engineer/architect — Cities SHALL APPROVE within 2 business days

  • not signed or sealed by a Missouri engineer/architect — Cities must either approve or deny within 5 business days; resubmissions must be evaluated within 5 business days. If resubmitted documents remedy all reasons for initial denial, resubmission shall be approved. Plans cannot be denied for any reason other than those stated in the initial denial.

  • Certificates of Occupancy:

  • signed & sealed by a Missouri engineer/architect – Cities SHALL APPROVE within 1 business day

  • not signed or sealed by a Missouri engineer/architect — Cities must either approve or deny within 1 business day; resubmissions must be evaluated within 1 business day

Reduction of Cities’ Video Service Provider Fees to 1% (HB 2616): This bill would reduce video service provider fees by 0.5% per year, until those fees are down to 1%.

Prohibition of Interior Inspections of Residential Property (HB 1510): This bill would prohibit Cities from adopting or enforcing a residential property licensing ordinance or resolution that includes a requirement for periodic interior inspections of privately-owned residential property for City code violations, unless the lawful occupant has consented to such interior inspections. It would not apply to inspections of mixed-use residential and commercial property.

Additionally, political subdivisions would be prohibited from requiring sellers or transferors of real property to obtain an inspection or permit of the real property in order to sell or transfer the property.

Cap on Occupational Fees of $25/year (HB 1587): This bill would cap “occupational fees” at $25/year. Occupational fees are defined as “a fee or tax on professionals or businesses that is charged for the privilege of providing goods or services within a certain jurisdiction. The term . . . shall include any fee to obtain a license or renew a license.” Additionally, this would limit political subdivisions from imposing licensing requirements on any occupation or profession already subject to licensing requirements by the State.

Trash Collection Services Contracts Must be Approved by Vote of Citizens (HB 2097): This bill would prohibit certain cities, towns, and villages from contracting with a mandated hauler(s) of residential solid waste collection for services unless the contract is approved by a majority vote of the citizens.

Mandatory Quarterly Reporting to Secretary of State of All Municipal Expenditures Paid to Vendors (HB 2242): This bill would create a database, to be maintained by the State Treasurer, of all municipal expenditures. Cities would be required to provide quarterly reports to the state treasurer of the City’s municipal expenditures paid to vendors for the previous quarter. Failure to provide this information could subject a City to $100/day fine.

AirBnB Regulation Preemption (HB 2457): This bill would restrict cities from passing and enforcing ordinances prohibiting short-term residential dwelling rentals, such as Air BnB. Imposes a 12%

Cap on Cumulative Sales Tax (HB 2168): This bill would prohibit cities from imposing a sales tax that would make the cumulative sales tax rate (when combined with state sales tax) more than 12%

A city police officer called an ambulance for a suspect who had been arrested and was visibly ill. The city had no written contract with the ambulance district. The ambulance bill was not paid, and the ambulance district filed suit against the suspect and the city, seeking payment. State Statute, (§ 190.060 RSMo.) allows the ambulance district to fix, charge, and collect fees for its services. The ambulance district had previously enacted in ordinance requiring that when an individual is detained by law enforcement and the individual becomes ill, requiring the dispatch of an ambulance, the entity that detained the individual shall be liable for ambulance charges. Nevertheless, the Missouri Court of Appeals, in Howard County Ambulance District v. City of Fayette, WD80699 (Mo. App. W.D. Feb. 20, 2018) held that § 432.070 RSMo., which requires any contract with a city "must be in writing and duly executed," limited the applicability of § 190.060 and the Ambulance District Ordinance. Although the latter permitted the ambulance district to charge the city, the city still could not be liable for such charges without a written contract complying with § 432.070 RSMo.