KCPD Funding Bill Passes
The 2022 legislative session ended on May 13. During the final hours, I was able to get one of my top legislative priorities across the finish line. Legislation sent to the governor’s desk last week will thwart future efforts to defund the police in Kansas City and increase the minimum funding requirement for the Kansas City Police Department, subject to voter approval. Senate Bill 678 increases the budget allocation for the KCPD for the first time in nearly seven decades. A companion measure, Senate Joint Resolution 38, will put the issue before voters.
I’ve written about this legislation in the past, but it may be good to review how and why these measures came about. The budget for the Kansas City Police Department is set by the city’s four-member Board of Police Commissioners but is subject to state statute, which requires the city to spend 20% of its general revenue on the police department. In March 2021, the city council attempted to usurp the police commissioners’ authority when it stripped $42 million from the police department budget. This effort to defund the police was blocked by the courts – for that one budget year, at least – but the incident showed the need to revisit the department’s decades-old funding requirement. I made increasing the KCPD budget my top priority for the 2022 session.
The legislation I sponsored, SB 678, raises the minimum funding requirement for the KCPD to 25% of general revenue. Again, this is the first time the police funding requirement has increased since the 1950s. Although the measure passed the Legislature, the change won’t take effect with the governor’s signature alone. Voters must also provide the authority for the Legislature to increase the department’s funding. SJR 38 will place a constitutional amendment on the November general election ballot to allow the change.
The brave men and women of law enforcement put their lives on the line every day to keep our community safe. They need to know that we have their back. One way to show our support is to ensure they have the resources to do their job. My legislation ensures the KCPD has the funding necessary to protect our streets, and stops future efforts to defund the police from happening again.
It is my great honor to represent the citizens of Platte and Buchanan counties in the Missouri Senate. Please contact my office at (573) 751-2183, or visit www.senate.mo.gov/mem34.