Farm groups rally in support of SB 113 in front of Capitol

Legislators and the Nixon Administration are close to a deal on new regulations for dog breeders in Missouri; but only close.

Lawmakers involved with rewriting Proposition B, the dog breeder regulations approved by voters in November, say they are talking with the administration. Yet, no agreement has been nailed down.

The legislature has already approved its revision of the initiative. It sent Senate Bill 113 to Governor Nixon Monday. That same day the administration, through the State Department of Agriculture, announced it had brokered an agreement between agricultural groups and animal welfare organizations in the state on tougher regulations of dog breeders. Nixon since has been meeting with key legislators in an effort to push his proposal through the legislative process.

The developments inflamed passions on an increasingly contentious issue. Supporters of Proposition B gathered outside the Governor’s Mansion late Wednesday afternoon, chanting “Veto 113” and “No Compromise”. Only a couple of blocks away, on the steps of the Capitol, farm groups rallied in favor of SB 113. Several lawmakers addressed the crowd, which afterward chanted “Sign the Bill.”

Supporters of Proposition B rally in front of the Governor's Mansion

The boisterous rallies contrast the quiet, behind door negotiations ongoing at the Capitol. Nixon met with House Speaker Steven Tilley (R-Perryville) Wednesday morning. A news conference was scheduled for 2pm Wednesday, but was scrapped. Speaker Tilley later told reporters he cancelled the news conference, because a deal hadn’t been reached.

Sen. Mike Parson (R-Bolivar), sponsor of SB 113, said he hasn’t worked out a deal with the governor’s office yet.

“Right now, we’re still working with the governor’s office. We’re working on the solution to that,” Parson told reporters after the Capitol rally. “Hopefully, we’re going to get things ironed out where if we can pass both pieces of legislation, I think things will move forward.”

Parson has pressed the governor to sign SB 113 and confirmed that remains his stance. The governor wants his language moved through the legislature along with a budget bill, appropriating $1.1 million for enforcement of the new regulations.

A solution might be found with Senate Bill 161, which has passed the Senate and is ready for debate in the House. Its sponsor, Sen. Brian Munzlinger (R-Williamstown) says the Nixon Administration language could be added to the bill which already carries a number of issues important to the Department of Agriculture.

While Munzlinger has agreed his bill could be a good vehicle for the additional regulation sought by the Nixon Administration, he stated Nixon must sign SB 113 to get his language through the legislature.

“I think he has to sign 113, or the deal is off,” Munzlinger stated.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1:10 MP3]