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Missouri Bar President Comments on Vetoed Legislation That Would Have Created New Court Costs to Fund Capital Projects

Missouri Bar President Reuben Shelton yesterday received a letter from Missouri Governor Jay Nixon,in which the governor thanked the bar for its opposition to legislation which would have authorized new court fees to fund a number of local capital projects.

Last month, Gov. Nixon vetoed Senate Bill 67 and House Bill 799, writing in his veto message that the “increasingly common practice of looking to the courts to raise funds must stop.”

Shelton said The Missouri Bar opposes provisions in both Senate Bill 67 and House Bill 799 which increase court costs to pay for capital improvements, but noted the bar supported some of the other provisions in the bills. The Missouri Bar has not taken a position on the Truly Agreed and Finally Passed versions of either bill. Shelton provided the following comments on the measures:

“The Missouri Bar believes all Missourians should have equal access to justice. We support the building and upkeep of courts, but we do not believe capital improvement projects should be paid for by taxing those who seek resolution through the courts. That’s because increased court costs can make the cost of access to justice too high, restricting access of ordinary citizens to the state’s courts to resolve legitimate disputes.

It’s also important to note the bar has supported concepts concerning other aspects related to the administration of justice which were included in these omnibus bills. One example includes supporting the transfers of divisions of the Circuit Courts where there is an objective need for such a transfer.”

A copy of the governor’s letter to Shelton is available here.

The Missouri Bar is a statewide organization that is dedicated to improving the legal profession, the law and the administration of justice for all Missourians. Created in 1944 by order of the Supreme Court of Missouri, it serves all 30,000 of Missouri’s practicing attorneys. To achieve its mission, The Missouri Bar provides a wide range of services and resources to its members, as well as the media, educators and the citizens of Missouri. To learn more about The Missouri Bar, visit www.MoBar.org and www.MissouriLawyersHelp.org.

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