Groups make deadline for ballot measures

Petitions to restrict the collection of taxes and to change the way some judges get their jobs made it to the Secretary of State's office Sunday in advance of the 5:00 p.m. deadline.

A group hoping to set standards for large puppy mills in Missouri was also there when the doors opened.

The group Missourians for the Protection of Dogs delivered three carts full of signatures.

"We're overjoyed to turn in these signatures we've been gathering all over the state, said campaign manager Barbara Schmitz. That's because we want to insure that dogs that are kept at large scale breeding facilities are treated humanely."

Schmitz says the group collected more than 190,000 signatures in an attempt to qualify the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act for the November ballot. Supporters say that's twice the total they needed.

The measure would restrict people from having more than 50 breeding dogs and set standards for their care.

"It's perfectly legal in the state of Missouri to house breeding dogs at a large scale facility in a tiny wire cage that may be stacked one on top of the other so the feces rains down, said Schmitz.

The Puppy Mill Cruelty Act would also make violations a misdemeanor.

"Our laws are inadequate, said Schmitz. They're vague and we're trying to strengthen them."

Three other groups also turned in signatures for validation by the Secretary of State. One seeks a statutory change relating to earnings taxes.

Another has two constitutional amendments relating to real estate taxation. The group with the highest profile wants to repeal the non-partisan court plan and have Missourians elect some court judges.