Sen. Rick Brattin’s Legislative Column for Oct. 18, 2022

Five Questions to Appear on November Ballot

Voters will have a lot of reading to do when they go to the polls on Nov. 8. Not only will voters be electing a new congress that will direct the course of the country for the next several years in Washington, D.C., they’ll also be sending a new General Assembly to Jefferson City and deciding who will represent them in county and local government. No less important are the five questions voters will see on their ballot.

Understanding these sometimes intentionally confusing questions can be frustrating for voters, especially when you consider they have to be explained in 100 or fewer words. Complicating matters are the interest groups who often tell half-truths or no truths to sell an issue to voters. In this report, I will try to fairly present the ballot issues and encourage you to further your research by visiting where you can read the actual ballot language and a summary of each.

Amendment 1 – Investment Duties of the State Treasurer

The state treasurer is currently limited to certain types of investments. This amendment would expand those investment opportunities to include highly-rated municipal securities and it would give the Missouri Legislature statutory authority to further expand investments the treasurer can make. The goal is to earn a greater return for taxpayers on the funds sitting in the treasury. Conservative estimates predict this change will bring in about $2 million more to the state. The expanded authority the state Legislature could give the treasurer is the most important change in this amendment. As more companies go “woke” and try to block Missourians’ access to their Second Amendment rights or Big Tech companies smother the First Amendment on social media, the Missouri Legislature could decide to direct taxpayer dollars away from these companies. Or, if investment funds push ridiculous environmental, social and corporate (ESG) policies, state statute can be changed to protect Missouri taxpayers. I am voting YES on this amendment.

Amendment 3 – Legalization of Recreational Marijuana

While medical marijuana is legal in Missouri, recreational use is not. This amendment would make it legal and set up a program run by the state to issue licenses and regulate growing and selling. I have serious concerns about recreational pot. Just look at Colorado. After marijuana was legalized there, DUI cases spiked, as did traffic accidents and fatalities, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. Studies also show that marijuana is particularly harmful to young people in the form of lower cognitive function and increased prevalence of depression and anxiety. We also don’t have a good grasp on long-term health consequences. I have supported criminal justice reform related to possession of marijuana but legalization for recreational use is reckless and dangerous. On top of that, with Amendment 3 legalized, pot would be enshrined in the state constitution where it would be nearly impossible to change if the language has flaws or we find problems later. I am voting NO on this amendment.

Amendment 4 – Kansas City Police Funding

This amendment would require the city of Kansas City to spend at least 25% of its budget on its police force. Some of you might remember that last year, the KC city council and mayor took the misguided step of trying to defund the police department to the tune of $44 million. It was a terrible idea. Members of law enforcement put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe, and for the KC council and mayor to embrace a false narrative and politically-motivated information campaign against our officers is shameful. This amendment would guarantee KC officers have the resources they need to fight back against the growing crime the city is experiencing because of the lies of the Defund the Police movement. I am voting YES on this amendment.

Amendment 5 – Department of the National Guard

Right now, the National Guard is part of the Missouri Department of Public Safety. This amendment would make the National Guard its own state department, with the director reporting directly to the governor. Allowing the National Guard a more direct line to the governor to advocate for the needs of our guardsmen and women is a recognition of how important our armed forces are to this state and our country. As a Marine veteran, I know the sacrifices of our military and anything we can do to push for a greater voice for veterans is a good idea. I am voting YES on this amendment.

Constitutional Convention

Every 20 years, our state constitution requires voters to be asked if they want a convention to write a new state constitution. If approved, delegates would be selected from around the state and they would then meet and write a new constitution. After that, it would be sent to voters for approval. While I recognize our state constitution has been continually raided by out-of-state interests pushing a radical agenda, a new state constitution would fall prey to those same out-of-state interests. We could end up with a rewritten constitution that guts some of our most important constitutional protections like our Second Amendment rights, or one that tries to force the evil practice of abortion on Missouri. That’s a risk we can’t take. I’ll be voting NO on this question.

As always, if you have any ideas, questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at the State Capitol: (573) 751-2108, or by writing to Sen. Rick Brattin, Missouri State Capitol, Room 331, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

God bless and thank you for the opportunity to work for you in the Missouri Senate.