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Missouri Municipal Police Amendment, Proposition A (2012)

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Proposition A
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Referred by:Missouri Jobs with Justice
Topic:Law enforcement
Status:Approveda
The Missouri Municipal Police Amendment, Proposition A, was on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of Missouri as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure required that all municipal police forces or departments be controlled by the local governing body.[1]

Six versions were filed with the Missouri Secretary of State and certified for petition circulation as of December 21, 2011.[2][3]

Election results

See also: 2012 ballot measure election results

The following are official election results:

Missouri Proposition A
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,617,443 63.9%
No914,14336.1%

Results via Missouri Secretary of State

Text of measure

The ballot title for the petition relating to municipal police forces and departments, which would be a Constitutional Amendment to Article VI, reads:[1]

Shall the Missouri Constitution 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.

Support

  • The Safer Missouri Citizens Coalition supported the measure.
    • According to the group's website, "Because a Civil War-era law is still on the books, the St. Louis police department is controlled by the state government. The Safer Missouri Initiative, often referred to as the “Local Control Initiative,” returns local control of the St. Louis police department to where it belongs: with the city and the people of St. Louis."

Opposition

No formal campaign in opposition of the measure was identified by Ballotpedia.

Lawsuit

See also: 2012 ballot measure litigation
2012 measure lawsuits
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Initiative process

St. Louis Police Officers' Association v. Missouri Secretary of State, et al.

On March 24, 2011 officers of the St. Louis Police Officers' Association filed a lawsuit in Cole County against the proposed measure. The challenge specifically questioned the measure's summary and financial estimate.[4] The suit argued that the summary was unfair and misleading. The cost summary, prepared by Auditor Thomas Schweich (R), they argued was based "solely" on information provided by Mayor Francis Slay, a proponent of the proposed changes. The filed lawsuit added that the fiscal statement didn't include expenses like increased legal fees.[5]

The measure was subsequently placed on the ballot after a Missouri Supreme Court ruling that decided that the state auditor had the constitutional right to prepare the financial summaries of the measures.

The ruling ended what was a tangled web in the state initiative process that began with a simple legal challenge to a potential tobacco tax initiative.

Path to the ballot

See also: Missouri signature requirements

To qualify for the ballot, each initiative required signatures from registered voters equal to 8% of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor's election from six of the state's nine congressional districts. Signatures on behalf of all initiative petitions for the 2012 ballot were due to the secretary of state’s office by no later than 5 p.m. on May 6, 2012.

Five versions were filed with the Missouri Secretary of State and certified for petition circulation on March 14, 2011. A sixth version was approved for petition circulation on December 21, 2011.[3][2]

Initiative process questioned

Legal challenges lead to bigger implications surrounding the state initiative process. On February 28, Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetum struck down a law that directs the state auditor to prepare fiscal analysis for proposed ballot initiatives.[6]

According to reports, Beetem stated that the law was in violation of the Missouri Constitution. Specifically, the ruling stated that the 1997 statute conflicts with a constitutional provision that prohibits laws mandating the state auditor to perform duties unrelated to overseeing the spending and receiving of public money.

What was originally a challenge to a tobacco tax initiative grew into a statewide confusion of the initiative process. Events in the state took another twist leading up to the week of April 23, 2012 when Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich told his staff via e-mail to cease preparation of financial estimates of initiatives, directly because of the court ruling.

Ballot initiatives needed the official financial summary included with submitted petition signatures.

The measure was subsequently placed on the ballot after a Missouri Supreme Court ruling that decided that the state auditor has the constitutional right to prepare the financial summaries of the measures.

The ruling ended what was a tangled web in the state initiative process that began with a simple legal challenge to a potential tobacco tax initiative.

See also

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