Governor Jay Nixon (D) has vetoed two agriculture omnibus bills because they contain language that would transfer regulatory control of captive deer to the Department of Agriculture. The sponsors of those bills say those vetoes will be easy overrides in September.
Nixon says the bill violates the state’s Constitution, which says the Department of Conservation is responsible for the control and regulation of wildlife.
Senator Brian Munzlinger (R-Williamstown) says the bill is worded so as not to violate the Constitution by specifying that captive deer are not wild.
“Actually if you look at the Constitution, it says, ‘wildlife,'” says Munzlinger. “If you look at the (legislation’s proposed) definition of ‘livestock,’ it says ‘anything not taken from the wild,’ so I think if you look at clear definitions the governor was clearly wrong in his veto of Senate Bill 506.”
Backers of the captive deer provisions in that bill and House Bill 1326 say it would protect hunting preserve operators from new regulations that would put some of them out of business. Proponents of those new regulations say they are needed to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) from imported captive deer into the wild population.
Munzlinger accuses the Governor of standing against private property rights, and the House sponsor of those bills, Representative Casey Guernsey (R-Bethany), agrees.
Guernsey says the new regulations, “literally allow unaccountable, unelected officials a power grab to confiscate and regulate private property and farmers specifically, unlike we’ve ever seen before in the State of Missouri.”
Nixon, in his veto messages on the bills, calls it, “unfortunate,” that the legislature amended the deer language to, “two pieces of legislation that otherwise contain worthy provisions advancing Missouri agriculture.”
Munzlinger says the deer language “fit right in” with the bills.
“I think it was a good part, too,” says Munzlinger. “It was another sector of our agriculture industry – a private property rights issue that is related to agriculture because they are livestock. They are owned by those individuals, taken care of by those individuals.”
Munzlinger adds, “I cannot believe this governor came out against private property rights. That’s exactly what it is. We made a clear distinction that these were captive cervids that were property of the owners, and yet he didn’t clarify between ‘captive’ and ‘wild’ in his comments.”
Both lawmakers believe the vetoes will be overridden in September’s veto session.
Guernsey tells Missourinet, “We’ve passed and overridden the governor’s veto on agriculture legislation before. This isn’t the first time the governor’s vetoed agriculture’s priorities. I’m confident that if you look at the votes on all ten of these individual proposals, they passed out of the House and the Senate with pretty significant margins in a bipartisan fashion, so we’re going to do everything we can to override the veto.”