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Proposition C creates regular review of St. Louis’ charter

City Hall on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in St. Louis, Missouri.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis voters will decide in April whether to set up an appointed commission to do a regular review of the city's charter.

St. Louis voters are being asked if they want to set up a regular review of the city’s charter.

Proposition C, on the April 4 ballot, would create a nine-member charter commission that would meet every 10 years. With the help of technical and legal support staff, the commission would review the city’s foundational document and draft any proposed changes that would then go back to the voters.

“We don’t have a regular mechanism to review the charter right now,” said outgoing 8th Ward Alderwoman Annie Rice, the sponsor of the bill that placed the commission on the ballot. “A foundational governing document is supposed to be updated.”

The current piecemeal system of changing the charter through a petition process isn’t working, Rice said.

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“We have an opportunity to bring it in house and hopefully take some of the stigma off of which outside interest group is really pushing this agenda,” Rice said.

If the measure is approved, the first panel would begin its work on Aug. 15 and be required to complete a review within a year. STL-TV would broadcast all meetings, and the documents would be posted online.

Members of the charter commission would be nominated by the mayor from a pool of applicants recommended by the Board of Aldermen. The nominees would require approval by the board. Three would have to live south of Arsenal, three in an area roughly north of Page Boulevard and three in the central corridor.

Aldermen voted 25-1 with two members absent in January to place the measure on the ballot. Outgoing 3rd Ward Alderman Brandon Bosley was the lone no vote, saying he had concerns about a lack of information.

“Do you plan on having postcards sent to every single voter in the city of St. Louis?” he asked Rice during a debate in December. “Do you plan on having thousands of dollars put into TV ads so individuals can ensure that they know what it is that you're potentially pushing as an alderperson?”

A campaign committee that Rice set up reported about $1,200 in the bank at the end of February. Rice said she is hoping for additional funds to cover the cost of a citywide mailer but is currently relying on a printed flier and established ward and neighborhood organizations to get the word out.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.