The members of the Missouri House of Representatives have given their stamp of approval to state Rep. Chris Brown’s plan to protect funding for the Kansas City Police Department. By a vote of 105-31, the House approved Brown’s HB 1986 and sent it to the Senate for consideration.
Brown originally filed the legislation to put a stop to some of the political maneuverings being utilized by the city to defund law enforcement in Kansas City. The bill’s intent is to clarify existing statute to ensure the Kansas City Police Department receives 20 percent of the city’s general revenue as intended. Previously, the mayor and some members of the city council had reallocated funds out of the city’s general revenue, which effectively cut the department’s budget by more than $42 million. A Jackson County judge eventually ruled that the city’s efforts to defund the department violated state law.
HB 1986 would prevent future maneuverings by the city to cut the department’s budget. The bill clarifies state law to say that, for the purpose of cities calculating one-fifth of general revenue that must be allocated to funding a police department, general revenue of the cities that is devoted to special purposes or allocated to special funds by the cities’ charter and ordinances must be included in the calculation. The bill does exempt any tax or appropriation for funding first responders from the calculation.
“I want to thank my colleagues in the House for standing with me in support of the fine men and women who protect and serve our communities. It’s unfortunate that we’ve seen these efforts to defund law enforcement, but this legislative body sent a strong message today that we will do all we can to protect those who protect us. With this, the Kansas City Police Department will have the funding it deserves and needs to keep our community safe,” said Brown, R-Kansas City.