Letter to Governor Nixon on SB 113 and Proposition B
SB 113 should be on your desk and you're now faced with a decision: sign or veto the bill.
It's tempting to think that you should sign the bill and move on. After all, didn't you work with the Agricultural Appropriations committee to get more funding for the Department of Agriculture to enforce existing laws? Hasn't the same committee said that you'll only get these funds if you sign SB 113? And if you don't sign the bill, won't you be facing the wrath of the people in your rural communities?
However, you can't deny one thing: the people of Missouri have stated that we want Proposition B, and no matter how SB 113 is worded, it is a repeal of Proposition B. It is a rejection of the voters of this state.
Can we get by without the $1.1 million in new funding for enforcement? I truly believe we can.
Proposition B provides teeth where existing laws do not. I believe we will find that the worst of the licensed breeders will shut down rather than comply. The worst of the licensed breeders take the most inspector time--what with re-inspections and possibly legal action. Proposition B will, in effect, weed out the worst actors, even before it needs to be enforced.
In addition, other breeders who have over 50 dogs, including those with hundreds, will need to downsize. This should simplify inspections on their kennels, and again save inspector time.
The Prop B rules are more objective, easier to verify than the vague regulations outlined in SB 113.
I strongly believe it is better for the dogs, and for the state, to have Proposition B and no new Department of Agriculture funding, then to have SB 113 and any amount of additional funding.
Proposition B isn't just a set of regulations and new rules: it is a pronouncement. With Proposition B, we told the world that no, Missouri no longer wants to be the Puppy Mill Capital of the US.
All SB 113 does is tell the world that yes, Missouri wants to keep our puppy mills. Yes, we want to keep this title.
Though I didn't have the room to say more, there is something else for Governor Nixon to consider:
If he signs SB 113 into law, we will come back with another initiative in 2012 to replace what we lost. This initiative, and the initiative to provide a Constitutional Amendment to protect the citizen initiative process, will be on the same ballot as the one related to Governor Nixon's re-election.
This is a decision that won't be forgotten and will be painfully obvious on the ballot and in the months and weeks leading up to the election. We will hear, again and again, about representatives who let us down; who disregarded our vote; who disrespected the voters of this state in order to ensure continued cruelty for dogs.
On election day, on the ballot screen or in the ballot page, we will be reminded one last time that many of our leaders let us down.