On Sat. Sept. 10, several Kansas City organizations gathered at The Martin Luther King Jr. Park to rally and share their views against a proposed constitutional amendment that would broaden Missouri’s control over the city’s police department’s budget.
“We as the people of Kansas City should say what goes on in our city, and we as the people of Kansas City should say what goes on with our city budget, said Amaia Cook, 24, leader of Decarcerate KC.
In June, Gov. Mike Parson signed a law that would increase the share of Kansas City’s general revenue spent on police from 20% to 25%.
This ballot measure, better known as Amendment 4, would give lawmakers power for the next three years to increase the minimum funding Kansas City must allocate to its police. If this amendment passes, the law Parson signed will be implemented. If the amendment fails, the law will not go into effect at this time.
Shortly after Parson signed the law, Mayor Quinton Lucas filed a lawsuit asking the courts to stop the law’s enforcement. In the Jackson County lawsuit , Lucas argues that the law violates a provision in the Missouri Constitution that restricts the legislature from passing unfunded mandates to local governments. The lawsuit also says it would force Kansas City to cut funding from other government services like road repairs, fire department and parks.
Kansas City is the only city in the state where local elected officials, by law, don’t have control over their police department and its budget. Instead, the City’s Police Department is controlled by a board of commissioners appointed by Missouri’s governor.
Lucas was also present at the Decarcerate KC pep rally.
Decarcerate KC member and Sunrise Movement KC member Adin Alem, said Kansas City is the only city in the state of Missouri that doesn’t have control over the police department.
“Why should we let people who don’t live here, who don’t understand us, or our needs of this community, decide how we spend our money?,” they questioned.
Other organizations represented at the rally were Urban League of Greater Kansas City, KC Elite, KC Tenants, and Friday Night Protest.