Leading Change: Better Together STL

By Krystin Arneson
In Culture

“We’re provocateurs in terms of discussion and awareness,” Better Together Executive Director Nancy Rice says, though she’s quick to point out that Better Together is a datacompiler—not an activist entity advocating for an outcome.

One result of its recent courts study is Senate Bill No. 5, which took effect Aug. 28.  Sponsored by Sen. Eric Schmitt, it reforms practices that lead to “frayed and hostile relationships,” as Rice puts it, between St. Louis county residents and police by reducing the money municipalities can collect from traffic tickets. Last year, Better Together’s courts study found more than 400,000 outstanding arrest warrants in St. Louis county for minor traffic offenses—enough to arrest more than 40 percent of the county’s population—and discovered these revenue-generating offenses were prioritized over chasing crime, Rice says.

Nancy Rice, Executive Director of Better Together, standing next to copies of the municipal codes in St. Louis City and County

Nancy Rice, Executive Director of Better Together, standing next to copies of the municipal codes in St. Louis City and County

Two reports remain: fire and emergency services and general administration. “We have to continue to educate the public and leadership on the proposed reforms that come out of our research,” Rice says. With the data they’re uncovering, there’s plenty to talk about.

This story was featured in the November 2015 issue.

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