Dog Daze

Andrea Sisney is a junior journalism major and staff writer for The Journal

The Missouri state congress sent a pretty strong message to its citizens last week: your vote is worthless.
It seems as though the Show-Me State is going through a bit of an identity crisis. In November, the majority Missouri voters  showed legislators that they supported Proposition B, which limited the amount of breeding dogs a breeder could own, required access to exercise for puppies and at least 25 to 34 feet of floor space for dogs, as well as creating a misdemeanor called “puppy cruelty.” But Gov. Jay Nixon and other legislators seem to have missed that memo.
Thirteen Missouri representatives, including seven from the St. Louis area, voted against their constituents to approve Senate Bill 113, which would repeal several provisions of Proposition B. One of these representatives, Jamilah Nasheed, went against more than 80 percent of her constituents to pass SB113.
Correct me if I’m mistaken, but I thought that democracy was based off the public’s votes. Elected officials are supposed to be representatives for their constituents. I think you’re doing it wrong, Nasheed.
Since SB113 was passed, Gov. Nixon has created a “compromise” that eliminates the restriction on breeding dogs and gives breeders more time to meet larger, cleaner housing requirements. What Mr. Nixon fails to understand is that Proposition B is, in fact, that compromise. Missouri voters decided last fall exactly how they felt about dog breeders and the restrictions they have. No further compromise was needed.
What is even more upsetting, several animal rights groups in Missouri, such as the state Humane Society, have signed on to this compromise. Some groups say the compromise is the only way Missouri will see progress in the puppy mill problem. I say they are only enabling legislators to walk over the will of the people.
Compromises are a way to resolve conflict and solve problems. But voters spoke up in November, and clearly chose their solution. There was no need for a compromise, except to appease the legislators. As if the Humane Society and other organizations had no hope for decency in our government, so they bent to the will of major agriculture donors and lobbyists.
What is really upsetting is an argument being passed around with the reasoning behind repealing Proposition B. Many representatives have insinuated the voters didn’t know what they were voting for. These representatives suggest that they are simply helping the poor voters, misled by the Humane Society.
Seriously? Not only did you completely disregard the word of the voters, but you now want to insult us?
In the presidential election of 2008, celebrities and politicians pushed young people to get out and “Rock the Vote!” Now, many young Missourians must be wondering, “What’s the point?”
Missouri has finally succeeded in killing democracy. The election in November now seems like a charade, and points to a sad trend in Missouri politics, one in which legislators continually tell voters how they should feel on political issues. When our Missouri politicians ask us to go out and vote, what they are really asking is for us to vote the way they would vote.  Or, at the very least, the way the most important donors want us to vote.
Gov. Nixon has until May 3 to sign this compromise into law. He has said that he believes the compromise respects the will of the voters. Perhaps he needs to be reminded what respect means. It’s pretty disrespectful to overturn a public vote.
If Missouri representatives want my vote when their terms come to an end, they’re going to have to prove worthy of representing my views and my votes. Gov. Nixon and others are going to have to show me.

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