Mayor Tishaura O. Jones Signs Bill to Place Charter Commission Amendment on April Ballot, Offering St. Louisans Stronger Voice in Modernizing City Government

Proposed measure would create a citizen-driven commission to review and recommend amendments to the St. Louis City Charter

January 26, 2023 | 2 min reading time

Mayor Tishaura O. Jones has signed BB44 to place a measure on the April 4, 2023 municipal general election ballot to create a citizen-driven commission to review and recommend amendments to the St. Louis City Charter. The measure, if approved by voters, will empower St. Louis City residents to suggest updates to the city charter, which was enacted in 1914. Any change to the charter requires approval by St. Louis voters. 

“St. Louis’ City Charter was adopted more than a century ago when people communicated by telegraph and traveled by steamboat,” said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “This gives St. Louisans the opportunity to have a voice and vote in modernizing city government for the 21st century.”

“Giving St. Louis the opportunity for a City-led, public-engaged, and regular Charter Commission to review our city's governing document helps our city move forward together,” said bill sponsor Ald. Annie Rice (8). “There could be small changes, or big ones depending on what we identify together, and this type of engagement with our government will help us all better understand what we're doing and why - and how that may need to change. The Charter Commission is an important tool for the City to use to ensure that changes we need to make are able to be made, and are done with the input of the people, not just by outside interest groups or millionaires.” 

Among some of the antiquated language in the St. Louis City Charter:

  • Requirement to print city updates in only English and German
  • Grants city right to levy taxes on steamboat lines, steamships, horse shoers, and merry-go-rounds
  • Allows city to issue bonds for the construction and maintenance of “orphan asylums,” “insane asylums,” as well as “telephone and telegraph systems”

The bill was passed overwhelmingly out of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. Absentee ballot applications are also now available for the March 7, 2023 municipal primary election. Completed ballots can either be returned to the Board of Elections office in Downtown St. Louis or returned by mail. Review more specifics on absentee voting on the Board’s webpage

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