Rural Missouri legislators are hedging their bets. Attached to a bill that would legalize facilities that slaughter horses for human consumption is this provision:
No state law criminalizing or regulating crops or the welfare of animals will be valid unless based upon the most current industry standard and generally accepted scientific principles and enacted by the General Assembly.
Translation: Only the General Assembly can restrict the puppy mill trade–and we’ll each cut off our left little finger before we lift a finger to do that. Y’all initiate all the petitions you want to rein in abuses in the dog breeding industry; we plan to ignore them.
So, would this amendment to HB 1747 be considered hedging their bets or is it overkill? Because the Senate Ag committee is now considering a bill for a constitutional amendment to the same effect. HJR 86, which already passed in the House, says–in the last version that I saw:
[N]o state law criminalizing or otherwise regulating the welfare or breeding of any domesticated animals shall be valid unless it has been enacted by the general assembly or promulgated by administrative rule….
Both bills are probably unconstitutional. Any plan to ignore initiative petitions that affect only one segment of society (those who raise livestock) is, in effect, discriminating in their favor. It’s a little like sending your five kids to school with the proviso that teachers can discipline four of them but they can’t punish Billy for bad behavior. Only the parents–who never do–can discipline him. Right, like that’s gonna work.
Still, one moral is clear from these two bills: rural legislators really, really want the rest of us to butt out.