Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty, (rafflaw), Guest Blogger
In just the latest example of corporations taking over the reins of government, the Missouri State Senate has decided that the voters of Missouri are stupid. Last fall, the voters approved a referendum that placed restrictions on the countless puppy mills in the state to ensure humane and healthy conditions were enforced by state regulators. Of course, the tea party lobbied against the passage of the referendum and since the Republicans gained a majority in the State Senate, a new bill was passed in the Missouri Senate to over ride the will of the people in the fall referendum and remove the safeguards that were approved directly by the voters!
“The heated campaign last fall over Missouri’s Proposition B may have been for naught. Before the voter-approved standards on dog breeding can take effect, the Missouri Legislature is poised to repeal them. Saying the new requirements would put the dog breeding industry out of business, the state Senate voted 20-14 on Thursday for a wholesale rewrite. On the cutting room floor: rules limiting kennels to 50 breeding dogs and requiring annual hands-on veterinary exams and larger, ground-level cages with access to the outdoors. Instead, veterinarians would do walk-through inspections at least twice a year and provide exercise plans for dogs. Dogs could be confined in stacked cages so long as they had solid surfaces to lie on.” St. Louis Today
If the State legislature in Missouri is successful in over turning the direct will of the voters, they will have succeeded in gutting the entire referendum process. One of the Senators who voted for the repeal came from a district that actually voted in favor of stricter guidelines in the referendum. “The key votes were cast by four senators who voted to repeal Prop B even though their constituents had backed it. They were Republican Sens. Scott Rupp of Wentzville, Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph and Bob Dixon of Springfield, and Democrat Victor Callahan of Independence. Schaaf said in an interview that voters in his northwestern Missouri district misunderstood Prop B’s ramifications. He said the Senate bill takes a more “balanced” approach that will meet voters’ goals. ‘”What they were really concerned with was that dogs get good treatment,” Schaaf said. “I don’t believe people in my district wanted to put every dog breeder out of business.”’ Of course, the Senators are claiming that since none of the 1,400 puppy mills in Missouri currently meet the referendum standards that it will put them all out of business. In light of the countless problems with the dog breeding industry in Missouri, maybe some of those breeders needed to be put out of business.
That is the logic at work here. The Senators claim that they know better than their own voters and that their own constituents “misunderstood” the referendum language! Of course, the referendum was passed in order to bring the puppy mill industry into compliance with humane standards and to make sure every puppy is healthy. “Kathy Warnick, president of the Humane Society of Missouri, said the Senate bill reverts to “bare subsistence standards,” including tiny cages where dogs can barely turn around. Animals are suffering in licensed facilities, not just unlicensed ones, she said. On Wednesday, her group released a report showing that nine of the “Dirty Dozen” kennels the group identified last year are still operating — and still had violations in their most recent USDA inspections. The reports cited emaciated dogs, some with open sores and some found shivering in 9-degree weather.”
Is it just me or has the arrogance of power just exploded in the faces of Missouri’s voters? We have seen examples in the recent past of State legislatures grabbing for more power at the expense of the voters and the State Constitutions. Wisconsin and Michigan come to mind. Here in Missouri, the voters just got a pat on the head from their kindly masters and were told right to their face, that the State legislature knows best! I think these out of control legislators need a sharp pull on the leash by these voters to protect their own interests and the health of breeding dogs and puppies. Do they have no shame? Bad Senators!
Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty, Guest Blogger