As Election Day approaches, Missouri voters are preparing to vote on five measures that will appear on their ballots.
Whether brought to the polls through initiative petitions or passage by the Missouri Legislature, ballot measures require a simple majority for adoption. This November, voters will consider proposals from the state legislature, the initiative petition process and a recurring question that could reshape the Missouri constitution entirely.
The first measure up on the ballot, labeled Amendment 1, will ask voters whether they wish to amend the Missouri Constitution to allow the General Assembly to invest state funds. While the state's legislative bodies do not currently have that power, the amendment would allow them to determine avenues for the state treasurer to make investments of the state's funds, according to the Secretary of State's Office.
The amendment would also expand the treasurer's investment abilities, authorizing him or her to invest in municipal securities. Those investments would be in municipal securities that possess one of the top five highest long-term ratings or the highest short-term ratings, according to the ballot language.
State government entities estimated a $2 million increase in revenue if the measure were to take effect, while local governments estimated $34,000 a year in increased revenue. Neither the state nor local governments estimated there would be any additional costs or an impact on taxes.
Amendment 1 was proposed and passed by the General Assembly last year.
Amendment 3, an effort to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana, was placed on the ballot through the initiative petition process.
The amendment will ask voters whether they wish to remove the state's prohibition on the purchase, possession, consumption, manufacturing and sale of marijuana recreationally for those 21 and older. The language would require registration with the state for personal cultivation with prescribed limits and establish a lottery system to award certification and licenses for prospective businesses and award these licenses equally among the state's eight congressional districts. Sales would be subject to a 6 percent tax, with revenue earmarked to benefit veteran programs, drug addiction treatment services and the state's public defender system.
If approved, the amendment would also allow those with non-violent marijuana-related offenses to petition for their release from incarceration, or for parole and probation. Those petitions would also include expungement for their records.
The measure has an estimated initial price tag of $3.1 million for the state and $35,000 for local governments, though it is expected to produce annual revenues of around $40.8 million on the state level and $13.8 million on the local level.
This year's Amendment 4, passed by the General Assembly earlier this year, would grant state lawmakers the ability to increase minimum funding for the Kansas City Police Department. The ballot language identifies "a police force established by a state board of police commissioners," a classification that in Missouri only applies to Kansas City.
The measure is not expected to have an impact on taxes nor add additional costs for the state or local governments, according to the Secretary of State's Office.
The next statewide proposal on the ballot this year, labeled Amendment 5, would create a new state department.
As passed by the General Assembly earlier this year, the measure asks voters whether the state should create the new Missouri Department of the National Guard. The Guard is currently housed under the Department of Public Safety.
The proposed department would be led by an adjutant general appointed by the governor with the advice of the state Senate.
The proposal is not expected to have an impact on taxes, though it would create new annual costs of $132,000 annually for the state.
Constitutional Convention question
The final statewide item on the ballot asks voters whether to assemble a convention to revise or amend the state constitution. The governor would be required to call an election of delegates to serve in the convention, with any changes put forth by the delegation subject to a vote of the people. The delegation would be composed of 68 members from partisan state senate district ballots and 15 nonpartisan delegates from a statewide vote.
Unlike this year's other questions, the convention issue is a regular question that appears on the ballot every 20 years. The provision requiring the regular ballot question was enacted in 1920, with the first convention taking place in 1922. The second convention 20 years later resulted in the state's fourth constitution, the latest version that remains in use today.