With SB5, the municipal court reform bill awaiting the governor’s signature, breathing down its neck, the city of Byrnes Mill has reduced its highest-in-the-county traffic fine schedule, reported the Leader on May 28. However, city judge Colby Smith-Hynes and Mayor Susan Gibson seem to want us to think they made the changes because they wanted to, not because they had to.
Some of the fine reductions include:
- Speeding 10mph over – reduced from $100.50 to $60.
- Speeding 30mph over – reduced from $300 to $240
- Child restraint violation – reduced from $175.50 to $24.50
SB5 allows cities outside of St. Louis County to derive no more than 20% of their revenue from traffic tickets, down from the previous (and weakly enforced) 30% limit. Byrnes Mill was most recently at 28%, so the law, assuming it is signed, will force Byrnes Mill to reduce its ticket income. In addition, the law will limit fines for minor traffic violations to under $300, which Byrnes Mill’s old schedule violated for three infractions.
Smith-Hynes gave other reasons for making the change, though. He said the STL County standardized fine schedule, which Byrnes Mill adopted, “seemed appropriate.” He also said “there is more consistency” and “they are easier to understand.” Mayor Gibson said “it looks like a fair schedule.” This is a city that only a couple of months ago converted its website into an anti-SB5 propaganda page, predicting doom and gloom if it passed. Now Gibson says this won’t be a hardship to the city.
The Leader, to its credit, pointed out the SB5 provisions in its article.
According to the Leader, Smith-Hynes is also reviewing fines in Hillsboro, where he is also judge and where fines were 3rd-highest in the county.
Thank you to the local legislators who voted for SB5 (which was all JeffCo representatives), thus paving the way for these changes in Byrnes Mill.