The fight by agriculture interests to neutralize the so-called puppy mill initiative proposal has become a broader issue–and that is becoming a problem for farming interests trying to protect their turf. Rural lawmakers who said the legislature should reserve all rights to changing laws on animal agriculture are changing their effort to blunt the puppy mill proposal. The newest version says any initiative proposal limiting animal agriculture would need a two thirds vote to pass.
But Kansas City Senator Jolie Justus, a lawyer, does not like giving one part of Missouri’s economy special protections. She says the real problem is that Missouri makes it too easy to amend its Constitution. She agrees with a colleague who says it’s too easy to “buy” the state constitution. “We are seeing not the huge grassroots effort (but) someone who has the money to pass it….We’ve got a check writer, someone who is interested in one issue…and they are interested in some significant changes to the state,” Justus says.
She cites examples such as the puppy mill proposal, or a proposal to eliminate earnings taxes in St.Louis and Kansas City, “dismantling” the independent judicial system and, on the horizon, eliminating the state income tax. Justice is pushing lawmakers to consider another constitutional change requiring as much as two-thirds favorable vote on all constitutional amendments.
All of this has left the anti-anti puppy mill proposal in limbo going into the next to last day of the legislative session.