Four amendments and a statewide question are on the Nov. 8 ballot. After studying the issues and weighing the pros and cons of each, here are our recommendations:
Amendment 1: This amendment would broaden the list of options for the state treasurer to invest funds in higher interest-bearing securities. Currently the constitution limits the treasurer to investments in federal or agency bonds. They’re stable but not always the highest earners. Broadening the treasurer’s options to include highly rated municipal securities or federal treasury bills gives the treasurer a greater ability to maximize taxpayer benefits. Vote yes on Amendment 1.
Amendment 3: As we wrote in a full editorial, the goal of legalizing recreational marijuana use is laudable. But this ballot item contains provisions that would give unfair advantages to existing medical-marijuana commercial entities. The state NAACP opposes the amendment. And because it would be written into the state constitution, subsequent modifications to this flawed measure could only be made through another statewide referendum. Legalization should be done through the Legislature, which can more quickly fix what inevitably needs fixing in such a law. Vote no on Amendment 3.
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Amendment 4: This largely Republican-backed measure is aimed specifically at the state-governed Kansas City Police Department. Although it is presented as a constitutional permission for the state to increase funding for that police force — and to formally block any defund-the-police movement — this measure could help solidify state control instead of restoring full local control. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas opposes it, saying: “I do not support anything that takes away our ability to work with our local police department and neighborhood leaders in terms of how we get to better solutions for violent crime.” Vote no on Amendment 4.
Amendment 5: This ballot item proposes to create a state Department of the National Guard with a cabinet position for the guard’s adjutant general. In theory, this would clear away bureaucracy and give the general direct access to the governor in times of crisis. The governor already has authority to clear bureaucratic hurdles in times of crisis and can phone the adjutant general anytime he or she likes. And the military does not need a seat at the table of civilian government. This measure seems like a quick way to politicize a position that must remain apart from politics. Vote no on Amendment 5.
Constitutional Convention: As complex and often convoluted the Missouri Constitution might be, current political circumstances wouldn’t bode well for the outcome of a constitutional convention, which would have a tendency to attract wackos and weirdos at a time when the state already has a bumper crop of them. There is no groundswell of support for this question, which by law must appear on the ballot every 20 years. Vote no on the Constitutional Convention question.