February 14, 2016

House sends farming rights amendment to the Senate

A ballot issue meant to protect the rights of Missourians to farm is one step closer to reach voters. A proposed constitutional amendment has been passed out of the House that would put a so-called “right to farm” issue on the November, 2014 ballot.

Speaker Pro-Tem Jason Smith (R-Salem) and Representative Bill Riebolds (R-Neosho) sponsored HJRs 11 & 7.  (photos courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Speaker Pro-Tem Jason Smith (R-Salem) and Representative Bill Rieboldt (R-Neosho) sponsored HJRs 11 & 7. (photos courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Representative Casey Guernsey (R-Bethany) says the proposal is a chance for Missourians to stand against animal rights groups like the Humane Society of the United States.

“It seems unconscionable to me that such an attack would be successful in a nation that owes its greatness to these very agrarian principles that are now under siege … a nation whose founding fathers were farmers, and they were livestock owners, and who believed farms were the building blocks of this nation.”

One of the sponsors of the proposal, Speaker Pro-Tem Jason Smith (R-Salem) says groups like HSUS are made stronger by a population that is largely generations removed from farming. He cites an example given by former legislator Tom Loehner.

“He testified about talking to an urban legislator that was talking about where the meat in the grocery store came from. That urban legislator thought that the meat came from when a cow shedded its weight. He did not realize that cows actually are slaughtered, and that’s where the steaks and the hamburgers came from.”

Republican leadership moved to cut off debate on Thursday before any Democrats could speak on the proposal. On Wednesday, several Democrats spoke against the measure.

Representative Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) said it would undo the work of the legislature in 2011 to compromise on legislation regulating puppy breeding operations in the state.

“We settled the dog issue. We compromised on it, we worked it out. Now, included in this laudable constitutional amendment is a backdoor repeal of the protection on the breeders … we’re going right back to puppyland.”

Guernsey said the legislation was not about repealing the dog breeding compromise.  The measure passed on a bipartisan 110-41 vote.

The proposal now goes to the Senate.