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Missouri Supreme Court weighs in on SB 5

Updated: Jun 29, 2022

In City of Normandy, et. al. v. Greitens, et. al., (Mo. May 16, 2017) the Missouri Supreme Court struck down the provision of SB 5 that imposed a 12.5% cap on the percentage of general operating revenues that may come from minor traffic violations in St. Louis County municipalities. The Court decided that the 12.5% cap, which applied to cities within charter counties of “more than nine hundred fifty thousand inhabitants,” was an unconstitutional special law targeting only St. Louis County. Although population windows have historically been successfully used to avoid the “special law” prohibition, here, because the law currently applied only to St. Louis County and would also only apply to St. Louis County “for the foreseeable future,” the Court held that it violated the special law prohibition. This decision is a substantial departure from previous court decisions on specials laws, and it will greatly limit the use of special laws based on population. Accordingly, cities in St. Louis County are now capped at 20%, along with the remainder of the state. The plaintiff cities also challenged two other provisions of SB 5: the requirement to submit an addendum with a city’s annual financial report and the requirement to obtain professional accreditation for police departments. Those two challenges were rejected by the Court, and the provisions remain in effect. A municipal adviser cannot profit financially or otherwise, directly or indirectly, from the underwriter of a negotiated bond issuance.

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