Missouri voters will have five questions on their ballot on Election Day, which is on Tuesday, Nov. 8. In addition to choosing their preferred candidates, Missourians will weigh in on the issues of state investments, marijuana, KCPD funding, a new department and a state constitutional convention.
Here’s what a yes and no vote means for each of the ballot questions. You can read more about these statewide measures on the Missouri Secretary of State’s website. Note that there is no measure with the name “Amendment 2,” but there are five questions total.
Amendment 1: Investment of state money
Context: Right now, the Missouri state treasurer has limited power to invest the state’s money in banks and government securities. This amendment would give the treasurer more freedom to invest the state’s money in city projects and “other reasonable and prudent financial instruments and securities” so that the state can earn a larger return. It would also let the General Assembly expand the treasurer’s investment options even more in the future.
Missouri Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, a Republican running for state auditor, supports this amendment, saying it would allow his office to invest the state’s money more effectively.
Voting YES means: The treasurer would be able to invest in more types of securities to make the state more money, and the legislature would be able to expand that power in the future. The state estimates the change will allow it to make around $2 million more per year.
Voting NO means: The treasurer would not be able to invest in more types of securities to make the state more money, and the legislature would not be able to expand that power in the future. The treasurer would continue to invest state money in banks and government securities, like it does now.
There is no ballot measure called Amendment 2.
Amendment 3: Recreational marijuana legalization
Context: Medical marijuana is currently legal in Missouri, but recreational marijuana is not. This amendment would make it legal for those 21 and over to buy and use marijuana, and would create a state program regulating who can get licenses to grow and sell recreational marijuana. The amendment would also automatically expunge the records of people with past non-violent marijuana-related charges, and would allow those currently incarcerated for marijuana charges to petition for their release.
Voting YES means: Recreational marijuana would be legal in Missouri for adults 21 and over to buy and use, and non-violent marijuana-related charges would be expunged from people’s records. The state would tax its sale at a rate of 6%. Medical marijuana facilities would be able to convert their existing licenses for recreational business, and entrepreneurs hoping to join the industry could apply for a micro-license through a lottery system.
Voting NO means: Recreational marijuana would not be made legal to buy, own, use, grow or sell. Medical marijuana laws would stay the same as they are now.
Amendment 4: State mandates on local police funding
Context: The state of Missouri wants to enforce a law that will require Kansas City to spend 25% of its revenue on the KCPD. The city is already required by the state to spend 20% of its revenue on KCPD, and in this past budget year spent 24.3% of its revenue on policing. The city estimates that raising that amount to 25% would cost the city around $37.8 million.
The Missouri Constitution says that the state is not allowed to give mandates to cities without providing any funding to carry out those mandates. This amendment would make an exception for police funding.
While this question will be on ballots statewide, it will only impact the KCPD. Kansas City is the only municipality in the state that does not have local control over its own police force. Opponents worry that the change would open up the possibility for the state to exercise more power over Missouri cities.
Voting YES means: The state would be allowed to tell Kansas City that it needs to increase the percentage of revenue spent on the KCPD. This would allow a law to go into effect that would raise the minimum requirement for police funding to 25% of the city’s revenue.
Voting NO means: The state would not be allowed to raise the required percentage of city money that Kansas City needs to spend on the KCPD. The increase to 25% would likely continue to face legal challenges at the state level.
Rejecting this amendment would NOT put KCPD’s operations under local control– that would require repealing a law from 1939.
Amendment 5: Creating a Missouri Department of the National Guard
Context: Currently, the Missouri National Guard is a part of the state’s Department of Public Safety. This amendment would split the state’s National Guard off into its own department, the Missouri Department of the National Guard, with its leader serving as a member of the governor’s cabinet.
Advocates in the National Guard say this would give the group a more direct line of communication with state leadership. This new department would cost the state around $132,000 per year.
Voting YES means: The state would create a new Department of the National Guard, whose leader would be a member of the governor’s appointed cabinet.
Voting NO means: The state would not create a new department. The Missouri National Guard would stay a part of the Department of Public Safety, but its top official would still be appointed by the governor.
Constitutional Convention Question
Context: Every 20 years, Missouri asks voters whether there should be a constitutional convention to amend and update the state’s constitution. The first appearance of the question came 100 years ago, and this year it’s back on the ballot. A convention would involve delegates from around the state convening to propose amendments and changes to the state’s constitution, which voters would then vote on in a special election.
Voting YES means: Elected delegates would gather to propose changes to the state’s constitution. Any changes they come up with would then have to be approved by voters in a statewide special election.
Voting NO means: There would not be a constitutional convention in Missouri. Voters will be asked about it again in 2042.
Do you have more questions about what’s on your ballot this November? Ask the Service Journalism team at email@example.com.