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Lucas: KCPD budget reallocation good for the city

  

Despite pushback from some Republican lawmakers, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said the recent reallocation of part of its police budget was beneficial for the city. 

“Anybody who has actually read into it in Kansas City recognizes that it is actually making sure certain things are performed in Kansas City,” Lucas said. “The more we’ve been able to discuss it, folks get it. Folks say, ‘We like intervention officers, we like making sure we have folks working in victim services in KCPD,’ and I think that’s something that is going to do well for Kansas City in the long term.”

Lucas unveiled his plan to amend the Kansas City Police Department budget to the minimum 20 percent of the city’s general revenue as required under state statute last month. The $42 million that had already been allocated is now put into a separate fund with an additional $3 million for community engagement, intervention, and other public services. 

The move quickly led to pushback, with GOP Kansas City legislators calling for a special session to address the change and the state leveling a lawsuit against Lucas and the city on the police board’s behalf. 

Lucas appeared on Sunday’s episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” to discuss the budget, the city’s COVID-19 response, and a possible bid for the open U.S. Senate seat

“I will miss Senator Blunt. I think he has been effective. He has been a good advocate for Kansas City,” Lucas said. “I hope the left has a strong candidate. Right now, I’m focused on Kansas City each and every day. I’m focused on being mayor, focused on making us safer, and we’ll see where the stakes go later in terms of who’s going to be our next U.S. senator.”

The FRA 

Senate Minority Floor Leader John Rizzo joined the second half of the show to review this year’s session and the conflict over the state’s federal reimbursement allowance (FRA). Rizzo said Republicans stalling the program’s renewal over cut language restricting the use of the funds for contraceptives was a risky move for the other side of the aisle. 

“We’re talking about a $2 billion funding stream from the feds and $4 billion total if you count what the hospitals tax themselves at,” Rizzo said. “The Republican majority has taken a huge gamble by tinkering with this program that has been in effect for decades now.”

While negotiations for the legislature to return to pass a bill before the beginning of the new fiscal year were underway, Gov. Mike Parson did not issue the call for the General Assembly to return last week as expected. 

Rizzo addressed another controversial measure in the Second Amendment Preservation Act, a gun-rights bill that led to a back-and-forth between the Parson administration and the U.S. Department of Justice last week. 

“We felt like it was blatantly unconstitutional, and we also felt like it was a slap in the face to law enforcement in the state of Missouri,” Rizzo said. “They refused to support police officers by putting them in a grab-bag of not knowing which laws they can enforce when it comes to guns without getting fined or being a target by the state of Missouri.” 

Watch the full episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” below, or listen to the podcast version here.