Thirteen St. Louis suburbs are named in a civil lawsuit filed Thursday by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster's office for alleged predatory traffic ticketing.
The cities being sued include Vinita Terrace, Mo. which Koster said gets more than 50% of its operating revenue from traffic-related fines. The cities of Moline Acres, Mo. and Normandy, Mo. also were named as deriving more than 30% of revenue from such fines.
Cities in Missouri, under what is known as the Macks Creek law, cannot raise more than 30% of annual revenue from fines and court costs for traffic violations, Koster's office said in a statement.
"The Macks Creek law was enacted to protect Missourians from predatory traffic ticketing," Koster said. "As we continue to identify areas for reform, an important first step is to require St. Louis County municipalities to follow the Macks Creek law to the letter. Based on my review, these thirteen municipalities did not."
Black residents in some municipalities around St. Louis have pressured politicians to make it more difficult for cities to earn revenue from traffic fines. They have said they are unfairly targeted by frequent police patrols on highways. The issue gained national attention during recent protests in Ferguson, Mo. over race, policing and politics.
Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb where Michael Brown was killed in August, was not listed among the cities being sued. In September the Ferguson City Council announced new laws to reduce the city budget's dependence on court fines.
Koster said the goal of the lawsuit was for cities to come into compliance and to properly report revenue.