Missouri Farm Bureau's board of directors recently voted to oppose an initiative petition being circulated to require a three-fourths vote of the Missouri legislature to change an initiative statute.
The "Your Vote Counts" initiative petition is bankrolled by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a national organization with no affiliation to local Humane Society chapters in the state.
"Missourians should be alarmed by organizations like HSUS who are hijacking Missouri's initiative petition process," said Blake Hurst, president of Missouri Farm Bureau. "They are using their vast financial resources to buy their way on the ballot with paid signature gatherers and then buy voter support by flooding the air waves with slick, misleading commercials. This is government by fundraising, legislation by thirty-second commercials.
"By requiring a three-fourths vote, the 'Your Vote Counts' proposal creates an unrealistic threshold for legislative action as a check and balance against the influence of multi-million dollar organizations like HSUS," Hurst said. "The Missouri Legislature can override a governor's veto with a two-thirds vote. They can even vote to amend the U.S. Constitution with a two-thirds vote. I sincerely doubt HSUS's ideas are more lofty or important than the Bill of Rights."
HSUS spent more than $2.5 million last year to gain voter approval of Proposition B, a state statute that further regulated dog breeders. During the 2011 legislative session, the governor and Missouri Legislature made changes to improve the initiative statute so it would put unlawful, instead of reputable, dog breeders out of business. Angered by this action, HSUS now proposes to use some of its $150 million annual budget to again buy its way on the ballot and tell Missourians how to conduct their business.
"Look no further than a state like California where budget problems are well documented and are largely a result of the ballot initiative process. California's legislature cannot itself amend ballot initiatives approved by the state's voters, not much different than what HSUS is proposing for Missouri," Hurst said. "Initiative petitions are a valuable part of the democratic process, but the process needs checks and balances. Absolute power is dangerous, and absolute power in the hands of groups with unlimited funding is a recipe for the worst kind of government of all."
Source: Missouri Farm Bureau