Opposing groups bark over Prop B
Wed, 20 Apr 2011 21:21:48 GMT —
Update: April 25 at 1:45 p.m.:
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has received thousands of comments from people urging him to sign or veto legislation rolling back new voter-approved restrictions on dog breeders.
Nixon's office released a small sample of the letters and emails Monday to The Associated Press.
Many ask Nixon to abide by voters' wishes and veto the legislation that would repeal and replace key parts of Proposition B, which passed last November.
Others urge Nixon to sign the bill, arguing the puppy-breeding industry helps create jobs in rural areas.
The governor has not said if he'll sign the legislation. Instead, he's urging lawmakers to pass a new, compromise bill that would lift some of the voter-approved restrictions. Updated: Wednesday April 20 at 10:10 p.m.
Voters adopted an initiative, and then lawmakers passed a bill to change it.
But the debate over how to regulate the state's dog breeders is far from over.
Hundreds of people came out to the Capitol Wednesday afternoon for the rally stand up for animal agriculture.
They're hoping that the governor signs Senate Bill 113.
"No one person in this state or this country, no one business, no one special interest group has a right to take away our God given rights to farm and raise animals in this country," Republican Senator Michael Parson of Bolivar said.
Parson has led the battle to overturn proposition "b".
"We need to show Missourians that agriculture is important and that taking care of our good dog breeders is important, Marshfield TMs Republican Representative Lyndall Fraker said. They're good business people providing a very good service to our communities and we need to support them."
Now on the governor's desk, Senate Bill 113 scraps the fifty-dog limit and the criminal penalties imposed by prop "b".
"It's an effort to show the kind of support that's out there in moving this legislature forward and having the governor sign it," Missouri Farmers Coalition Don Nikodim said.
Just across the way, dozens of people gathered at the Governor's Mansion, protesting that very bill.
"Proposition B was passed last November and now, before it even has a chance to go into effect, lawmakers are trying to strip away those very basic provisions for the dogs and we're here to speak up or those dogs," Missouri Humane Society Director Barb Schmitz said.
Governor Jay Nixon is caught between a ballot initiative with voter support and a breeding industry fearing extinction.
He is reluctant to sign or to veto Senate Bill 113.
There were challenges that ballot measure did not adequately address," Nixon said.
Those challengers are why the governor's office brokered a deal between Missouri dog breeders and animal rights interests.
It would keep some of Prop "B" and some of Senate Bill 113, but let state agriculture set most of the breeding standards.
"I want the governor and the legislature and the state to realize that this is not a problem that's going to go away, Prop B supporter Linda Jones said. Whitewashing it is not going to solve the problem. It needs to be addressed at its core."
While many lawmakers have voiced support for the governor's compromise, legislative leaders have said they want Nixon to sign 113 first, before any changes are approved.
The capitol is abuzz Wednesday over the issue of dog breeders.
Two rallies went on Wednesday evening in the Capitol city.
Groups that want to keep the original wording of Proposition B demonstrated in front of the Governors Mansion.
The other rally was at the Capitol, people there want the new compromise to be implemented and signed.
Wednesday afternoon lawmakers were going to have a news conference about the issue, but decided at the last minute to cancel.
Earlier this week Governor Nixon's administration announced a compromise between animal welfare advocates and dog breeders.
Wednesday night KRCG's Meghan Lane will tell you what message the demonstrators are trying to get across.