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Ballot Preview: Local Control (Proposition A)
I have written about Proposition A before, but I wanted to expand on it, as we look ahead to the ballot measures folks will see when they vote in November. In 1861, control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department was taken from the city and given to a commission made up mostly of political appointees chosen by the governor. The intent of this law was to keep firepower out of the hands of a pro-Union city in a largely proConfederacy state. Today, the outdated law still remains in place. Proposition A, more commonly known as the “Local Control Initiative,” will appear on the statewide ballot this November. With voter approval, control of the St. Louis Police Department will be restored to where it belongs — with the people and City of St. Louis. Rural voters benefit from this good-government initiative as it increases the accountability of the St. Louis Police Department, reduces state and local costs and saves state and local taxpayers
millions of dollars. Rural voters also see the benefits of local control over political cronyism, as local control leads to better, more efficient government. Today, if residents of the City of St. Louis have a problem with their local police, they must call the governor’s office. I cannot imagine my local police force or sheriff not being accountable to local voters or jurisdictions. According to the Missouri auditor’s office, this new law could save state and local taxpayers an estimated $4.5 million per year. Removing duplicated services in purchasing, legal and personnel departments will play a major role in these cost savings. Supporters of the ballot measure include the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association, the mayor of St. Louis, along with many local city officials and community leaders. The effort is also supported by a bipartisan and diverse group of state legislators. The Safer Missouri Citizens Coalition is currently conducting a grassroots effort statewide to educate voters on the issue. When voters go to the polls in November, they will see this ballot language on the issue: Proposition A Official Ballot Title: Shall Missouri law be amended to: allow any city not within a county (the City of St. Louis) the option of transferring certain obligations and control of the city’s police force from the board of police commissioners currently appointed by the governor to the city and establishing a municipal police force; establish certain procedures and requirements for governing such a
municipal police force including residency, rank, salary, benefits, insurance, and pension; and prohibit retaliation against any employee of such municipal police force who reports conduct believed to be illegal to a superior, government agency, or the press? State governmental entities estimated savings will eventually be up to $500,000 annually. Local governmental entities estimated annual potential savings of $3.5 million; however, consolidation decisions with an unknown outcome may result in the savings being more or less than estimated. Fair Ballot Language: A “yes” vote will amend Missouri law to allow any city not within a county (the City of St. Louis) the option of establishing a municipal police force by transferring certain obligations and control of the city’s police force from the board of police commissioners currently appointed by the governor to the city. This amendment also establishes certain procedures and requirements for governing such a municipal police force including residency, rank, salary, benefits, insurance and pension. The amendment further prohibits retaliation against any employee of such municipal police force who reports conduct believed to be illegal to a superior, government agency or the press. A “no” vote will not change the current Missouri law regarding St. Louis City’s police force. If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes. I have supported this local control issue in the past, and I continue to support it now. I welcome your questions on the issue. Please feel free to contact my office at (573) 751-1507 or
Senator Stouffer serves the counties of Carroll, Chariton, Cooper, Howard, Lafayette, Macon, Ray, Saline, and a part of Clay. If you have questions or comments about this or any other issue, please call toll free (866) 768-3987 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.senate.mo.gov/stouffer State Capitol, Room 332, Jefferson City, MO 65101 | (866) 768-3987