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March 10, 2011

Missouri Senate Passes Bill to Eviscerate Prop B

There’s deeply distressing news from Missouri, where the state Senate just hours ago voted to repeal Prop B. The backers of SB 113, authored by Sen. Mike Parson, characterized it as a “fix,” but it was anything but that. Parson and his allies hollowed out Prop B, and they’ve set their sights on reverting back to the weak state law that allowed the puppy mill industry to flourish in Missouri. It’s their aim to protect the puppy mill industry, not puppies or dogs.

The vote was fairly close, 20 to 14, and our allies in the Senate did defeat Parson’s effort to manufacture an “emergency” provision, which would have prevented us from conducting a referendum and putting this question directly again to voters (the vote was 18 to 15, but it failed because the emergency clause required a two-thirds majority).

Dogs at Missouri puppy mill Windsong Kennels
The HSUS
Dogs at Windsong Kennels in 2010, one of the licensed
Missouri puppy mills in our Dirty Dozen report.

Seven of 8 Democrats and 7 of 26 Republicans in the Senate opposed the repeal effort. The Democrat who voted for repeal, Senate Minority Leader Victor Callahan, comes from a district where 67.7 percent of the voters in his district favored Prop B, so he not only voted to subvert a statewide referendum, but also to countermand the wishes of the vast majority of his own constituents.

There were three other lawmakers who supported SB 113 even though their districts favored Prop B: Rob Schaaf (58.8 percent), Scott Rupp (53.5 percent), and Bob Dixon (50.9 percent). They’ve done a disservice to the people of Missouri with their votes, although Sen. Rupp did vote the right way in opposing the emergency clause.

The House is expected to pass the bill, but standing in their way is Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who through the years has spoken of respecting the will of the people and who as governor has sought to improve enforcement of the current laws on commercial dog breeding.

We hope that Nixon will veto this ill-conceived legislation when it gets to his desk. If he does not, we and our many partners in the effort to secure Prop B will be sure to do all within our power to put this issue back in front of voters at the earliest opportunity.

Cracking down on puppy mills has never been easy. The industry is surprisingly entrenched, and as you can see from today’s vote, they are politically connected. And yes, we’re disappointed in the performance of lawmakers who thumbed their nose at the people. But the battle is far from over. We know you’ll stay with us as we continue this critical fight.

Below you can see how the senators voted today, and how their constituents voted on Prop B. The following Missouri state senators voted “no” on both SB 113 and its emergency clause, standing up for the will of the voters and the welfare of dogs:

  • Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-14, 70.5 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-7, 65.4 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. S. Kiki Curls, D-9, 72.8 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Tom Dempsey, R-23, 64.8 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Timothy P. Green, D-13, 73.3 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Jolie Justus, D-10, 75.9 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Joseph Keaveny, D-4, 78 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Will Kraus, R-8, 60.4 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. John T. Lamping, R-24, 69 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Jim Lembke, R-1, 70.4 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Ryan McKenna, D-22, 60.7 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Luann Ridgeway, R-17, 67.7 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-15, 70.1 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Robin Wright-Jones, D-5, 79.4 percent for Prop B

The following senators voted “yes” on the bill to gut Prop B, as well as the emergency clause to prevent a future referendum:

  • Sen. Dan Brown, R-16, 29.4 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Victor Callahan, D-11, 67.7 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Jason Crowell, R-27, 35.1 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Bob Dixon, R-30, 50.9 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Kevin Engler, R-3, 48.9 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Jack Goodman, R-29, 34.1 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-6, 33.7 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Brad Lager, R-12, 27.4 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Robert Mayer, R-25, 39.9 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-18, 24.3 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Brian Nieves, R-26, 44.5 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Mike Parson, R-28, 25.2 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. David Pearce, R-31, 43.9 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Chuck Purgason, R-33, 28.6 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Ron Richard, R-32, 37.4 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-34, 58.8 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-21, 33.5 percent for Prop B
  • Sen. Jay Wasson, R-20, 34 percent for Prop B

Though Sen. Scott Rupp, R-2, voted in favor of SB 113, he voted against the emergency clause. Sen. Schaefer abstained. And both of those actions were welcomed by our coalition.

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