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Missouri legislator suggests changes to Prop B

Because Prop B is a statutory change, not a constitutional amendment, it can actually be amended by the state legislature, just like any other legislation.

November 10, 2010|by Linda Russell, KY3 News | KY3 Reporter

BOLIVAR, Mo. -- Just one week after Missouri voters approved Proposition B, a new state senator already wants to change to the new law.  Because Prop B is a statutory change, not a constitutional amendment, it can be amended by the state Legislature, just like any other legislation.  Senator-elect and current Missouri House Rep. Mike Parson wants to do just that.

Dog breeders say the passage of Prop B could cost them their livelihoods after it goes into effect next November.

"Cut us back to 50 dogs; we'll probably go out of business," said Doyle Dismang.

The Humane Society of the United States says it will help end Missouri's puppy mill problem.

"We have all sorts of rogue puppy mill operations moving into Missouri because the laws are weak, the enforcement is poor," said Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive officer of the Humane Society of the United States.

At least one state legislator says the voter-approved legislation needs a second look. 

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"People have got to keep in mind a special interest group wrote this legislation, not Jeff City," said Parson, who lives in Bolivar.

Parson suggests legislators make some adjustments to Prop B, like the required square footage, climate controls and the limit of 50 dogs. 

"The other thing I think is a serious problem with it is when you set a set number in statutes or the Constitution, telling what somebody in the private sector, as far as business is, what they can sell and what they can't sell," said Parson.

The Humane Society of the United States stands behind the legislation. 

"Right now, under Missouri regulations, a dog who is 24 inches can be in a 30-inch cage, never has to get out of that cage," said Pacelle.

Pacelle believes the voters' decision should be final. 

"It's arrogant, rather outrageous, that state lawmakers would seek to subvert what the people just decided," Pacelle said.

Parson agrees in many cases, but not this one. 

"I understand the will and the vote of the people.  I believe in that very deeply.  It doesn't mean I want to repeal it, because I'm not going down that road, but I do think there's significant changes in there, just to be practical and be enforced," he said.

Although Proposition B was passed by just more than 51 percent of voters, it gained majority in only 11 counties.  Parson believes, if legislators in the House and Senate voted with their districts, changes would happen.  Pacelle believes so many rural Missouri counties voted it down because they believe Prop B would affect agriculture, which he says is not true.

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