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Voters to decide whether Missouri National Guard should be its own state department

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Missouri National Guard Soldiers with Task Force South place sandbags near Poplar Bluff on May 4. More than 500 Guardsmen are currently supporting flood response efforts in the state. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Colton Elliott)
Staff Sgt. Colton Elliott
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U.S. Air National Guard
A Missouri National Guard soldier with Task Force South places sandbags near Poplar Bluff in May 2017. More than 500 Guardsmen supported flood response efforts in the state that year.

Missouri and Massachusetts are the only states whose National Guards fall under another state department agency instead of answering directly to the governor.

In Missouri, the National Guard is part of the Department of Public Safety, but depending on how voters respond to Amendment 5 on the Nov. 8 ballot, that could change.

A "yes" vote on Amendment 5 means the adjutant general, who commands the National Guard and is appointed by the governor, would become a member of the governor's cabinet.

The move to make the National Guard its own agency received overwhelming support in both the Missouri House and Senate. Supporters say creating the Missouri Department of the National Guard would streamline the communication process during times of state and federal emergencies.

Stephen Danner, retired Adjutant General of the Missouri National Guard, joined Up To Date to discuss how the move would affect the governor's ability to call on the Guard and how it would impact the state budget.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
Elizabeth Ruiz is a freelance producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact her at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz
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