residency requirement | St. Louis Public Radio

residency requirement

From left, Ray Hartmann and Rachel Lippmann joined Wednesday's show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Lots of things set St. Louis apart from other Missouri municipalities, from its fixation with the high school question to bread-sliced bagels. So the fact that the city of St. Louis is one of few municipalities in the state with a residency requirement for most of its government employees is hardly its most defining.

But right now, it might be the most hotly contested. After the Board of Aldermen rejected last fall Mayor Lyda Krewson’s plan to put the issue to voters — and have city residents decide whether to continue requiring city workers to live within the city limits — Krewson is now pushing for the Legislature to take up her cause. House leadership seems on board.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with longtime local journalist Ray Hartmann, who has a column in this week’s Riverfront Times on this subject. Also joining the discussion was St. Louis Public Radio reporter Rachel Lippmann.

St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden testifies in committee hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 14 about residency requirement.
Jaclyn Driscoll | St. Louis Public Radio

After years of city officials trying to end the residency requirement for police officers in St. Louis, lawmakers in Jefferson City are expecting to get it done. 

Rep. Ron Hicks, R-Dardenne Prairie, is sponsoring legislation that will lift the requirement, and he said he has the support needed to make it law. 

“Right now, we have a clean bill,” Hicks said in a committee hearing on the proposal on Tuesday. “We have a good path through the House; we have a good path through the Senate right to the governor’s desk. He himself told me he’ll sign the bill if we can get it there the way it is written.” 

Attorney General Eric Schmitt at a press conference on November 19, 2019.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is backing legislative efforts to make carjacking a state crime, and to lift the requirement that some St. Louis police officers live in the city.

“We are offering two solutions to two problems we know exist,” Schmitt, a Republican, said Tuesday at a news conference in St. Louis. “We need tougher sentencing for carjackings. And we have a police officer shortage. So let’s open up the talent base.”

St. Louis City Hall
Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis aldermen have voted against asking residents to lift a requirement that city employees live in the city.

Friday’s vote was the latest setback for Alderwoman Carol Howard, D-14th Ward. She has tried since last year to change the city charter and allow most employees to live where they would like. Elected officials and appointed department heads would still have a residency requirement.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen chambers on July 7, 2017.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis aldermen will spend at least part of Friday debating whether to ask voters to repeal the requirement that most city employees live in the city.

The bill narrowly received first-round approval in July. Its sponsor, Alderwoman Carol Howard, D-14th Ward, delayed a final vote until after the break, to give her time to secure more support.

A Build-A-Bear employee sets out a display bear after dressing it in a new Blues uniform at at a store in the St. Louis Galleria. With the approval of a tax incentive package, the company is expected to move its headquarters to downtown St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved a tax incentive package Friday, sweetening a plan for Build-A-Bear to move its headquarters ⁠— and 200 employees ⁠— to downtown St. Louis from its current location in Overland. 

After passing on a 22-3 vote, the bill now moves on to Mayor Lyda Krewson for a final signature, which a spokesman said she will provide.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 13, 2012 - The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that the General Assembly does have the power to intervene when it comes to residency requirements for St. Louis firefighters. That means that city firefighters – like city police – can reside outside St. Louis after seven years on the job.

The court’s action overrules lower-court decisions siding with the city, which argued that the city charter gave the city the power to impose the residency requirement that firefighters reside within the city limits.