Missouri Ballot Proposals in Plain English
Amendment 1: Investing State Funds
Amendment 1 would change Missouri's Constitution when it comes to investing state funds.
Currently, the Missouri Treasurer determines how much money can be safely invested to gain interest income for Missouri. Today, the Treasurer can place the funds in banks, in U.S. Treasury bonds, in banker's acceptances, and in commercial paper.
Amendment 1 would allow the Treasurer to also invest in municipal bonds. Long-term bonds would need to have one of the five highest ratings, and short-term bonds would need to have the highest rating.
Amendment 1 also authorizes the legislature to determine what other investment vehicles the Treasurer can use in the future.
This Amendment was proposed by the state legislature on a bipartisan basis. The State estimates that the additional investment options will bring more money to Missouri.
A "Yes" vote expands the Treasurer's investment options. A "No" vote keeps the Constitution the same.
Amendment 3: Marijuana
Amendment 3 would legalize recreational marijuana, alter some medical marijuana rules, and change Missouri's criminal laws. This is the longest Amendment on the ballot, so buckle in for just a little bit.
Amendment 3 allows nurse practitioners - not just doctors - to supervise medical marijuana treatments.
For businesses, Amendment 3 replaces a scoring system to determine who gets licenses with a lottery system when folks apply for more licenses than are available. Amendment 3 also changes the limits on total ownership in the marijuana industry. Instead of limiting applicants to a certain number of licenses (3 for cultivation, 5 for dispensary, and 3 for infusing products), licensees are now limited to controlling up to 10% of licenses available.
Amendment 3 generally decreases costs for users and increases the amount of marijuana that individuals can possess.
Amendment 3 legalizes recreational use for Missourians at least 21 years old. It also allows folks to grow marijuana at home, but under explicit limitations, like ensuring the marijuana is under allowable limits, is secured, and is not easily visible. Amendment 3 includes consumer protection rules, including labeling and packaging requirements.
Amendment 3 also creates avenues for expungement of criminal records and release from prison for those currently serving sentences for marijuana offenses, excluding those offenses involving over 3 pounds of marijuana, distribution to minors, violent offenses, and operating vehicles under the influence.
Amendment 3 does include punishments for those violating the law. Most are civil penalties, but Amendment 3 includes a misdemeanor for those who repeatedly possess, produce, or deliver more marijuana than they are permitted to up to double the limit. The state legislature appears to have control over what happens if someone goes over double the limit; Amendment 3 actually removes the penalty for going over double the medical limit (it was imprisonment up to 1 year and a fine of up to $2000) and gives the legislature the ability to set those criminal punishments.
Amendment 3 includes a 6% tax on recreational marijuana with funds going to a Veterans, Health, and Community Reinvestment Fund. A third of the funds go to veterans' health care and related services. A third goes to grants for drug addiction treatment and prevention. The last third goes to the Public Defender system.
Amendment 3 also creates a new class of businesses called microbusinesses. Microbusiness applicants are limited to one license, and the total number of licenses for microbusinesses are limited, initially to 6 per Congressional district, and eventually growing to 18 per district. The licenses appear on the surface to be reserved for folks who have been impacted by marijuana prohibition or ongoing poverty in Missouri. But there may be loopholes. For example, a wealthy individual who lives in a census tract where 30% of the population lives below the poverty line would be eligible for a microbusiness license. Amendment 3 does include provision for a Chief Equity Officer and guidelines to increase access to marijuana businesses by those who have been disadvantaged.
In the event the federal government legalizes marijuana, Amendment 3 keeps Missouri's system in place.
Local governments can ban dispensaries from their communities, but any such ban requires a 60% vote to pass.
Amendment 3 was placed on the ballot through an initiative petition. If passed, any changes to Amendment 3 will require another election day vote. Amendments are changes to Missouri's Constitution, and future changes cannot be made by the legislature on its own. Laws passed by the legislature, rather than constitutional amendments, are preferred when regulating new industries, especially when changes will likely be needed. However, the legislature has failed to pass medical or recreational marijuana laws even though it has had multiple opportunities to do so.
Amendment 3 is estimated to provide over $50 million in revenues to state and local governments.
A "Yes" vote legalizes recreational marijuana and makes several changes to medical marijuana rules and related criminal justice procedures. A "No" vote keeps the Constitution the same.
Amendment 4: Kansas City Police
Amendment 4 would change Missouri's Constitution to allow the state legislature to assert greater budgetary control over Kansas City and its police department.
Amendment 4 would allow the state legislature to increase the minimum funding a local government must provide to a police department when that department is controlled by the state. The only place like that in Missouri is Kansas City.
Amendment 4 interacts with a law already passed by the state legislature to increase the maximum funding level for such a police department from 20% to 25% of general revenue.
Amendment 4 would give the state legislature the ability to order Kansas City to provide a larger portion of its budget to its police department. If the legislature does so and increases the funding requirement by 5%, Kansas City's government will have to determine which programs to cut that 5% from.
Amendment 4 was placed on the ballot by the state legislature, mostly on a party-line vote.
A "Yes" vote would allow the legislature to increase Kansas City's police budget. A "No" vote would keep that decision with Kansas City.
Amendment 5: National Guard
Amendment 5 would change Missouri's Constitution to house the Missouri National Guard in its own separate government department rather than it being housed under the Department of Public Safety.
Missouri's Constitution limits the total number of separate departments allowed in state government. Amendment 5 would increase that number by one and would create a Department of the National Guard. Almost every other state has the National Guard reporting directly to the Governor rather than to a department director.
Amendment 5 would also place a new mission for the Adjutant General of the National Guard in Missouri's Constitution. The Constitution will now say that the Adjutant General "shall provide for the state militia, uphold the Constitution of the United States, uphold the Constitution of Missouri, protect the constitutional rights and civil liberties of Missourians, and provide other defense and security mechanisms as may be required." Some of this new constitutional language is already included in Missouri law as part of the oath taken by members of Missouri's National Guard.
The change is estimated to cost between $100,000 to $150,000 per year.
Proponents, including a previous adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard, believe that creating a separate department will improve the responsiveness of the National Guard, especially given the Guard's increased involvement in foreign deployments and confidential operations. Opponents do not see a need for the increased costs and worry whether the Amendment will increase the power of the Governor.
Amendment 5 was placed on the ballot by a bipartisan vote of the state legislature.
A "Yes" vote would create a separate department for the Missouri National Guard. A "No" vote would keep the National Guard under the Department of Public Safety.
Missouri Constitutional Convention
Every 20 years, Missourians get to choose whether we will hold a Constitutional Convention. The Convention meets and proposes changes to Missouri's Constitution. The Convention could propose a totally rewritten document, just some rewritten portions, or multiple Amendments that Missourians would vote on separately (the latter similar to what we're doing this election).
If Missourians vote for a Convention, Missouri will have another election to select the delegates to the Convention. Each voter will select one candidate from their state senatorial district. The political parties will nominate those candidates, and the top two from each senatorial district will become delegates. Because we have 34 state senatorial districts, that means we would have 68 partisan delegates.
In addition to the partisan delegates, Missourians will select 15 at-large delegates from across the state. Candidates for those positions have to collect signatures from 5% of the voters in their state senatorial districts. These candidates will appear on the ballot without a party affiliation. However, the Constitution does not prohibit partisan campaigning or massive campaign expenditures for these at-large, statewide candidates.
A "Yes" vote would call a State Constitutional Convention. A "No" vote would not.