The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 24, 2011

Susan Redden: Governor pushes ‘solution’ to Prop B changes

JOPLIN, Mo. — There’s yet another round brewing in the fight over Proposition B, the measure passed by voters last November to strengthen controls of dog breeding operations in Missouri.

A Senate bill revising some elements of the proposition — making changes that supporters say would target outlaw breeders without punishing the good operations — was delivered to the governor last Monday after it got final approval by the House in the previous week.

Nixon, the same day, announced an agreement between animal welfare and agricultural organizations on legislation he is backing that he said would respect the will of voters and improve the care of dogs while advancing Missouri agriculture. He said the compromise, which he called the “Missouri Solution,” was reached as a result of working closely with interests on all sides of the issue.

According to a statement from the Missouri Department of Agriculture, the measure provides for stronger standards for veterinary care for dogs in breeding kennels, and for living conditions including sufficient space for each dog and access to enough food and water. It also gives the industry time to meet the standards and adds stronger state enforcement.

Officials of a number of groups signed off on the proposal, including the Humane Society of Missouri, the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners and the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

On Tuesday, Nixon’s office announced support for the plan in a letter co-signed by more than 70 lawmakers, including House Speaker Steve Tilley and Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer. A release from the governor’s office on Friday added the support of the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association.

A rally in support of the Senate bill addressing Proposition B was held Wednesday and attracted an estimated 1,000 people to the south lawn of the Capitol, according to Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, who helped promote the event.

Kelley in his weekly newsletter said it would be a daunting task to get the compromise advanced by Nixon passed with less than four weeks left in the legislative session.

The governor’s proposal also was noted by Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, who said the governor needs to sign the Senate bill so that lawmakers can turn their attention to the compromise legislation.

A majority of voters in the region voted against Proposition B in November. All area representatives voted for the Senate bill when it passed the House on an 85-71 vote.

I can only imagine how the lawmakers must feel after passing legislation and then seeing the governor turn around and propose his own plan. They must feel like the voters who passed Proposition B.

Other measures

There was some movement last week on a House bill supported by local officials that would require a prescription for the purchase of medicines containing pseudoephedrine, which can be used to make methamphetamine.

After more than a month of inactivity, House Bill 659, called the Meth Lab Elimination Act, now has the endorsement of the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee, and the House Rules Committee. Observers say that with time in the session running short, House bills still awaiting debate are unlikely to be passed.

The Joplin City Council last month adopted an ordinance imposing the prescription requirement in the city. It takes effect May 1. Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn called for a countywide mandate, and members of the Jasper County Commission said they supported the statewide measure.

Also last week, the Senate passed a proposed constitutional amendment that could shrink the size of the Missouri House as a way to save money in future state budgets.

The measure, passed 21-12 by the Senate, would ask voters next year if the number of House districts should be reduced to 103 from the current 163. The change, if approved, would take effect in 2023 — affecting no current officeholders. But for the measure to get on the ballot, the House would also have to agree to reduce its own numbers, which is unlikely.

Susan Redden is a staff writer for the Globe. She can be reached at sredden@joplinglobe.com or 417-623-3480, ext. 7258.

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