Pssst, Gov. Nixon: Best to hold off on the bow
If a letter from Missouri legislators to Gov. Jay Nixon is a thank-you note, then think of a pink slip as a glowing job evaluation.
The letter, signed by more than 70 lawmakers, including the Republican leaders of the House and Senate, does start out with the words “thank you.” Nixon brought agricultural interests and some of the state’s animal welfare groups together in an attempt to resolve the ongoing battle over legislation reforming Missouri’s dog breeding industry.
But the letter quickly veers into intimidation. Republicans and some rural Democrats are insisting that Nixon sign Senate Bill 113 — the legislation that dismantles the humane measures which voters demanded of dog breeders when they approved Proposition B in November. “This legislation still represents the best hope to repair the damage Proposition B has done to the dog breeding industry and Missouri agriculture,” the letter says.
If Nixon vetoes Senate Bill 113, the lawmakers warn, legislative attempts to pass his compromise bill “would be heavily compromised.”
Here’s the situation as I see it. If Nixon signs Senate Bill 113, he has no guarantee that the legislature will pass his compromise. After all, 70 members see the bill they’ve already passed as “the best hope.” Allowing the dismantling of Proposition B to become law would infuriate a good many people who voted for it. And Nixon would be a party to overturning the will of a majority of voters.
On the other hand, if Nixon vetoes Senate Bill 113, and one or both of the two chambers fails to muster enough votes for an override, than the statute called for in Proposition B takes effect. Unless the legislature votes for Nixon’s compromise. Which key members say they won’t do.
Pity the governor. He thought he was adroitly solving a problem by bringing the groups together and working out a new deal. (I thought so too, actually.) But now it seems he’s in a tighter bind than before. No wonder he prefers a state of blissful unreality.