Key state lawmakers say they want Governor Nixon to sign their revision of the dog breeder law approved by voters in November. Then, they’ll talk with him about the compromise he has worked out between agriculture groups and animal welfare organizations.
House Speaker Steven Tilley, a Republican from Perryville, tells the Missourinet he will encourage Governor Nixon to sign Senate Bill 113, which he says maintains the intent of the voters in November while fixing some problems with Proposition B. Tilley says, then, the legislature can consider the compromise the Nixon Administration is proposing. According to Tilley, the House doesn’t have a set position and is willing to work with the governor when it can.
“But we certainly would love to see action on Senate Bill 113,” Tilley says.
Agreeing is the House sponsor of the bill, Tom Loehner, a Republican from Koeltztown.
“That’s what I would like to see, that he go out and sign 113 and say this is a start, we’ve done this thus far and I think we can do a little bit more with the fix,” Loehner, chairman of the House Agriculture Policy Committee, says. “If we could get that done and an emergency clause, that’s great.”
On the heels of the legislature approving SB 113, the Missouri Department of Agriculture issued a news release Monday outlining an agreement reached on dog breeder regulations. According to the news release, the agreement would strengthen veterinary care standards for dogs in breeding facilities, food and water standards, space requirements and state enforcement.
A letter to Governor Nixon and the General Assembly was signed by Kathy Warnick of the Humane Society of Missouri, Karen Strange of the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners, Bob Baker of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, Barbara York of the Missouri Pet Breeders Association, Don Nikodim of Missouri Farmers Care and State Agriculture Director Jon Hagler.
The announcement caught lawmakers off guard. Some expressed dismay that it came so late in the session and suggested that a more active role by the governor earlier could have easily incorporated the suggestions in SB 113.
In a letter to the governor, Sen. Mike Parson (R-Bolivar), the sponsor of SB 113, urged Nixon to sign it, saying that a veto of the bill would heavily compromise any efforts to pass new legislation. The letter was signed by 15 senators, 55 state representatives and 10 representatives of farm groups.
“I want the governor to commit whether he’s going to sign 113 or veto it before we know how to proceed,” Parson tells the Missourinet.
For now, the governor hasn’t stated what he plans to do. The governor’s office did acknowledge receiving the letter from legislators and issued a statement from Gov. Nixon:
“I am extremely encouraged that this broad coalition of legislative and industry leaders has endorsed our Missouri solution to strengthen requirements for the care and treatment of dogs and to protect agriculture in our state. I appreciate the leadership Sen. Parson and Rep. Loehner have shown throughout this process, and I look forward to working with Sen. Mayer, Speaker Tilley and leaders in both parties and both chambers to pass this important agreement as swiftly as possible. This public statement by a broad coalition of legislative leaders is a significant step forward for our Missouri solution.”
The governor’s compromise language hasn’t been filed yet on any legislation before the General Assembly.