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.

Critters Legal, Laws, and Regs

No love for puppies from Missouri Senate on Valentine’s Day

The Senate agricultural approved bill to gut Proposition B, the combined SB 113 and SB 95, is up for perfection, which means debate on the Senate floor, Monday, February 14th.

Yes, the Missouri agribusiness sponsored representatives are moving quickly—trying to steal our vote before most of the people of Missouri are aware of what’s happening. With all the other contentious actions happening in Missouri—including several other bills that seem to be based on overriding the people—the agricultural committee is probably hoping their actions to gut Proposition B fly under the radar.

I do know that what’s happening with Proposition B has not received the notice from the mainstream media it should be getting. Perhaps because so many of the TV news shows are sponsored in part by the big agribusiness concern, Monsanto.


Tony speaks and the House meets

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Another meeting on the House anti-Proposition B bill HB 131 will be held Tuesday, February 15th at 12pm in House Hearing Room 6. The meeting is an executive session, where those rascally representatives see how they can contrive to gut Proposition B but only make it seem as if they’re making minor modifications.

HB 131 not only removes all the provisions of Proposition B, it also redefines it so that the remaining scraps of text only apply to breeders with over 100 dogs. I just hope the representatives’ agribusiness masters give them their treats, pat them on the head for a job well done.

That’s a good Representative! Good rep! Want me to scratch your belly now?

A glimmer of light is seen, though, and the color of the light is red. Cardinal red, to be exact.

Cardinal’s manager Tony La Russa has come out, swinging yet again, in support of Proposition B.

Update My pardon, but I originally thought the meeting next Tuesday was a public hearing, but the meeting is an Executive session. Evidently the representatives found it too difficult to maintain a facade of openness.

So much easier to steal the vote from the people when we’re not watching.

Critters Government Legal, Laws, and Regs

Another “while you were snowbound” agricultural committee public meeting

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Though not related to Proposition B (“What? You mean the Missouri state legislature has been working on other legislation!?”), Show Me Progress points out that the House agricultural committee also held another “public meeting” on yet another travesty of a bill: HB 209.

What HB 209 does is limit the actions on the part of those who are neighbors to a CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feed Operations) if the CAFO creates a public nuisance.

When all other committee public meetings were canceled during the snow and ice storm, presumably so that people can attend the public meetings when the weather improves, the agricultural committee barreled through most of its meetings it knew would generate a great deal of interest from those who don’t necessarily agree with the committee’s views.

That the committee would do so may be allowable according to the rules, but it is hardly open, and frankly, not particularly ethical.


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Political Fix has more on the non-public public meeting for HB 209.