SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Missouri Amendment 5 is asking voters to approve or oppose making the Missouri National Guard its own department.
Since 1972, the National Guard has operated under the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
“The governor at that time wanted some additional departments and so he merged several departments together,” Registered Lobbyist for the Missouri National Guard Association Jackie Wood said. “Their main mission is federal. Most of their dollars are federal dollars with a match from the state and then the state also supplies dollars for stateside emergencies.”
DPS oversees eight divisions. Right now, the National Guard reports to DPS, and then DPS reports to Governor Mike Parson who acts as the Commander in Chief for the guard.
“You do not want there to be bureaucracy in the way and you want to be able to get your information to the person making the decision,” Wood said. “[If approved], Missourians will see a quicker response time in times of state emergencies because we will not have to go through any levels of bureaucracy in order to get our information to the governor.”
But, there is some opposition to Amendment 5. The Missouri NAACP said the measure “fails to address long-lasting issues about the role of discrimination in state government, the fair
utilization of state resources or even recent lawsuits filed to prohibit the silencing of tax voters
and Working Families in Missouri. A NO vote will protect your families from misdirection,
misuse, and mismanagement.”
The Missouri Democratic Party also spoke out against the amendment, saying “voting yes for Amendment 5 would create a chain-of-command issue throughout the Missouri National Guard. Republicans claim to be the party of a small government, but voting yes for Amendment 5 would come with a cost.”
The amendment includes a yearly budget of $132,000 for the guard, with no extra tax to the voter. If the amendment does not pass, the National Guard will continue operating under DPS.