KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Republican Gov. Mike Parson was at Kansas City Police Headquarters on Monday, signing a bill that requires the city to fund its police department at 25% of the city’s general revenue as opposed to 20%.
Parson said law enforcement need to be able to take the state’s most violent criminals off the streets if they want to reduce crime in this state.
“And then you got to have a prosecutor that’s willing to prosecute those people,” Parson said during Monday’s signing.
The bill came about because of what the city council tried to do in spring 2021, moving $43 million into a community services fund. KCPD would have had to have asked the city to receive it for different initiatives. A judge denied the city’s efforts though because the budget for that year had already been set.
The city council action angered Republican State Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer from Platte County. He represents part of Kansas City though. He sponsored a bill to force the city to increase its funding requirement, and that’s the bill the governor signed Monday.
“The bill signed today does not increase the funds the City already has provided the police each year,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said Monday.
Lucas was referring to the March 2022 budget session at the city where the council did fund the police department at that 25% level.
“Well, we saw the antics of the city council in May of last year where they stripped over $42 million worth of funding of the KCPD,” Luetkemeyer said in response to the Mayor’s quote.
“They did so without any sort of warning to the chief of police, without any sort of warning to the Board of Police Commissioners, and if those funding cuts would have stuck, it would have totally destabilized this police department.”
“This is just a base floor like many other things,” Parson said in response to that same statement from the mayor. “I think if the city funds them more, my hats off to the mayor and the city council for doing that. I think they understand the importance of having police officers on the streets in the state of Missouri, and I think we also realize this violent crime has got to stop.”
“The bill violates the Missouri Constitution and will be challenged in court,” Mayor Quinton Lucas continued Monday.
“Good luck,” Luetkemeyer said in response to the mayor’s statement about the bill Monday. “Good luck.”
“The mayor’s the mayor of Kansas City,” Parson said in response to the mayor’s statement. “He can do what he wants as mayor of Kansas City, and the city council can.”
This is also not the last step for Luetkemeyer. Voters statewide will have to approve a constitutional amendment on this in November. Luetkemeyer doesn’t necessarily think his initiative will have to pass for this to go into effect though.
“I think the constitutional amendment may not be necessary,” he continued. “But I think ultimately at the end of the day, it’s probably safer to amend the Hancock Provision of the constitution to ensure that there are no challenges against the bill that the governor signed today.”
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