Ag Interests, Legislators Lash Out at Initiatives
Those vexatious legislators in Missouri, irked by a recent ballot measure, are attempting to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot, which would limit the people’s power of petition. The proposed amendment –HJR 11 – overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives last week. It would allow only the legislature to create laws regarding farming and agriculture in the Show-Me State.
The 2010 ballot question that got the legislators’ dander up, was known as Proposition B and spearheaded by the Humane Society of the United States. The proposition set limits for dog-breeding operations in Missouri and passed with 51.6 percent of the vote. However, legislators repealed the rules before they took effect and, in their place, approved a number of regulations signed by Governor Jay Nixon in 2011.
Several agricultural associations are supporting the proposed amendment, most notably the Farm Bureau, which universally opposes the initiative process – except when they are using it. Rep Casey Guernsey (R-Bethany) argues that initiatives put forth by the HSUS have placed “agrarian principles under siege.”
Some are not as keen to limiting future initiatives though. Bob Baker, executive director of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation opposes limiting initiatives, pointing out that it took a 1998 voter-initiated law to outlaw cockfighting.
“The Legislature has been very slow to act on animal welfare,” he said. “So we are very much opposed” to barring initiative petitions.
The whole story at St. Louis Today