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Missouri passes Amendment 4, mandating increase to KCPD’s budget

Posted at 10:57 PM, Nov 08, 2022

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The minimum percentage of the city’s general revenue Kansas City, Missouri, must allocate to its police force will increase after voters statewide passed Amendment 4.

Despite the fact that the amendment only affects Kansas City, which isn’t specifically mentioned in the ballot language, the entire state weighed in on the municipal budget issue.

KCPD remains one of the only local police departments in the U.S. under state control. It is controlled by a Board of Police Commissioners, which includes the city’s mayor and four members appointed by the governor.

State law already required Kansas City to spend at least 20% of its general revenue on police, a figure it routinely exceeded in the annual budgeting process.

The GOP-controlled Missouri legislature, citing police “defunding,” approved legislation earlier this year requiring that minimum threshold to increase to 25%.

State Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, a Republican from Parkville, sponsored the Senate version of the bill and previously told KSHB 41 News that the bill was in response to KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas and the city council's attempt to reallocate money within the department.

"Fund the police department at a level that meets its modern-day funding needs," Luetkemeyer said. "This is going to prevent future radical attempts by this city council to defund KCPD and make our city less safe."

Lucas introduced two ordinances in May 2021 that would have reallocated KCPD toward community policing, especially within the Central and East patrol zones.

“If you're following, this is not defunding the police,” Lucas said at the time. “What this is, is actually increasing accountability for the first time in 80 years.”

Lucas opposed Amendment 4.

Legislators sought the constitutional amendment over concerns that the bill would run afoul of the Hancock Amendment, which limits the legislature’s power to dictate how Kansas City spends its tax dollars without a vote.