FERGUSON, MO (KTRS) The Missouri Supreme Court has struck down portions of a law that imposed special requirements on Ferguson and other cities and police in St. Louis County in the aftermath of the unrest that followed the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The state’s highest court today ruled that the 2015 law was unconstitutional because the state failed to justify provisions treating St. Louis County differently from the rest of the state. One section the court struck down required St. Louis County police agencies to be accredited and cities to maintain balanced budgets.
Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt criticized the court’s decision and defended the law, saying that before its passage, Missouri’s municipal court system, especially in the St. Louis region, was, “A safe haven for overgrown local governments that treated citizens like ATMs rather than trimming their budgets.” But Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway supports the ruling. “The decision also upholds the responsibility of the State Auditor to receive reports from municipalities, which submit the information in an addendum to their required annual financial reports,” Galloway said. “I am pleased the court has upheld my office’s ability to hold municipal governments accountable to citizens. Too often my audits have identified blatant disregard for financial reporting requirements, and outright refusal to remit excess revenue owed to the state. My office will continue to aggressively hold cities accountable to ensure they are not using their courts as the main source of revenue to prop up an otherwise unsustainable government.”