Missouri General Assembly refers two constitutional amendments to the ballot during 2022 session

The Missouri General Assembly passed resolutions for two constitutional amendments during the 2022 legislative session, which adjourned on May 13. Voters will decide on the amendments at the general election on Nov. 8, 2022. The two amendments join a third proposal that legislators referred to the ballot during the 2021 legislative session.

One of this session’s constitutional amendments received support from a majority of Democrats and Republicans. The second proposal, which addresses police funding, largely divided the parties. In Missouri, a simple majority vote is required in the General Assembly to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot, and Republicans control both chambers. Constitutional amendments do not require the governor’s signature to be placed on the ballot.

The first constitutional amendment passed during the legislative session was House Joint Resolution 116 (HJR 116), which would provide the Missouri National Guard with its own department within the state government’s executive branch. Currently, the National Guard is housed within the Missouri Department of Public Safety. The vote was 126-2 in the House; the two “No” votes were Democrats. The vote was 32-0 in the Senate. The constitutional amendment was certified for the ballot on May 5.

On the final day of the legislative session, Senate Joint Resolution 38 (SJR 38) was passed. The constitutional amendment would allow the General Assembly to increase the minimum required funding for a police force established by a state board of police commissioners. Kansas City is the only city that does not have local jurisdiction over its department, and therefore the only city that this measure would currently impact. The amendment was passed along with a bill that would increase the minimum funding requirement for Kansas City’s police department. Currently, Missouri law mandates that Kansas City devote 20% of its general revenue to the police department. That bill would increase the funding requirement to 25%. 

The Senate passed SJR 38 on March 21. The vote was 23-10. Democrats were divided 1-9, and Republicans were divided 22-1. On May 13, the House voted 103-44 to pass the resolution. Democrats voted 3-41, and Republicans voted 100-3. 

In 2021, the General Assembly placed a constitutional amendment on the 2022 ballot that would authorize the state treasurer to invest in highly rated municipal securities. Voters will also decide a constitutional convention question, which automatically appears on Missouri’s ballot every ten years, asking voters whether or not to hold a state constitutional convention. Two citizen-initiated measures could also appear on the ballot. One would adopt top-four ranked-choice voting for statewide, state legislative, and congressional offices. The other would legalize marijuana in Missouri. Campaigns for these initiatives submitted signatures by the May 8 deadline. 

A total of 85 measures have appeared on Missouri’s statewide ballots between 1996 and 2020. Out of those 85, 54 (64%) were approved by voters, while 31 (36%) were defeated.

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