Update on district counts

The Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation (MAAL) has posted its own list of Proposition B votes by Senate district. It’s also in the process of posting the same vote distribution for the House of Representative districts, but you can see the list now, at the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

From the data, it looks like the folks went to each individual district and were able to get actual vote percentages. This would make their efforts more accurate than my own, which are based more on analysis of population density and vote comparison with surrounding counties than actual counts. However, the differences between the two sets of figures are small.

For the Senate districts, MAAL had 18 districts for Proposition B, 16 districts against. Where we differ is how District 26 voted: I have this district as Yes, they have it as No.

For the Representative districts, I was off on three No votes (which ended up being Yes), and six of the Yes votes. I had Districts 25, 129, and 137 as No, but they have them as Yes. And I had Districts 29. 36, 106, 109, 121, and 124 as Yes, but they have them as No. Instead of 91 voting yes and 72 No, it’s 88 voting Yes to 75 voting No.

All in all, I didn’t do too badly, and I’ve updated my initial results. The important fact to take away from this data is that the majority of Senate and House districts voted Yes for Proposition B. In addition, in the borderline districts, the split is close enough to 50/50 for the representatives in those districts to risk antagonizing a significant number of people in their districts if they override Proposition B. After all, even people who voted against Proposition B have been critical of the representatives seeking to overturn the vote of the people.

Legal, Laws, and Regs

Public hearing on Freedom in Agriculture Act

A public hearing will be held on HJR 17, the so-called Freedom in Agriculture Act on February 15th, at 8 am in House Hearing Room 7.

As the Sheriden Express newspaper recently noted, this is also another indirect attack on Proposition B. What this Act states is that the citizens could no longer bring about any initiative related to animals. This includes anything related to hunting, fishing, livestock, and even domestic pets, such as cats and dogs.

I love how the agricultural committees want to deem themselves the only people fit in the state to determine what is best for animals in this state. Considering the absolute bias in the committees, and the fact that the group is openly disdainful of Missouri voters, I shudder to think at what abuses they would bully through the state legislature—all based on scientific findings of course.

Not only would the Freedom in Agriculture Act render Proposition B unconstitutional, it would also render past laws related to animals passed by citizen initiative as unconstitutional. That means we would also see the return of dog and cock fighting—also outlawed by citizen initiative almost two decades ago.

This would also mean we could no longer bring about a citizen initiative in the future that is even remotely related to animals. No other industry or category of law is so encumbered in our state Constitution.

Again, a reminder: the meeting on HJR 17 is a public meeting: all are welcome to attend and express their views on this latest excrement to come out of Jefferson City.

Critters People

Jason Smith’s own Personal Interest in Proposition B

The legislation I talked about in the last article, HJR 17, is sponsored by Representative Jason Smith.

If you attended the House meetings on Proposition B bills in the last few weeks, you probably witnessed Representative Smith’s aggressive grilling of those testifying for Proposition B. Though not part of the committee holding the hearings, Representative Smith attended as an Ex-officio member based on his position as Majority Whip.

What you might not know, because he did not state this during the hearing, is that Jason Smith has a personal axe to grind about Proposition B.

In the weeks leading to the Proposition B vote, HSUS released a report called Missouri’s Dirty Dozen, describing several of the worst large scale commercial breeders in the state. Among them is a breeder named Mary Ann Smith.

I looked at Mary Ann Smith’s USDA inspection reports. Among the repeating violations are those that include sick and injured dogs, insufficient space, poor maintenance, as well as inadequate shelter from the cold for dogs in outdoor kennels.

Mary Ann Smith is also Jason Smith’s mother.

I was stunned when I read this information. I would have expected Representative Smith to recuse himself from actively participating in the hearing, considering his personal involvement. At a minimum, I would have expected him to say something to the people attending the hearing. He did neither.

Not only did Representative Smith actively participate in the hearing, he did so aggressively, and with a great degree of animosity, as perceived by those who attended the hearing. In my opinion, such actions are irregular, and highly unethical. What makes such behavior worse is that he’s a member of the House Ethics committee

Now, with his support of a Constitutional Amendment banning any citizen initiative related to animals (HJR 17), Representative Smith wants to ensure that people like him are the only people to ever make a decision about animals again in this state.