Voters to Decide Elevated Status for Missouri National Guard

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Voters will get to decide later this year whether to elevate the status of the Missouri National Guard by making it a stand-alone department of state government.

The National Guard currently is a division of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, which also includes a variety of other agencies.

The Senate gave final approval Thursday to a proposed constitutional amendment to remove the Guard from that umbrella and create a separate Missouri Department of National Guard. Supporters said it would elevate the importance of the Guard and make its leader — the adjutant general — a member of the governor’s Cabinet.

The measure passed the House last month. It will appear on the ballot later this year.

In addition to the National Guard, the Department of Public Safety currently includes the state Highway Patrol, Capitol Police, the State Emergency Management Agency and offices that oversee fire safety, casinos, alcohol and tobacco regulations and veterans nursing homes.