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OUR OPINION: Repeal effort thwarts will of the people

December 4, 2010 at 6:53 a.m. | Updated December 4, 2010 at 6:53 a.m.

A state lawmaker apparently believes the motto on Missouri's state seal is insufficient.

Translated from Latin, "salus populi suprema lex esto" essentially means let the welfare of the people be the supreme law.

Legislation pre-filed by a senator, however, suggests an exemption in cases where he believes the people are misinformed.

Sen. Bill Stouffer has filed a bill to repeal the law. He contends voters statewide were misled into approving Proposition B in the November general election.

Proposition B placed additional restrictions on dog breeders. It established a maximum number of breeding dogs and set minimum standards for facilities and veterinary care.

Proponents contended the restrictions were necessary to curb inhumane "puppy mill" operations.

Opponents countered the rules would burden legitimate breeders, drive up the costs of pets and open the door to restrictions on livestock production.

Although we support the humane treatment of animals, we considered Proposition B misguided and urged voters to oppose it.

In the vote tallies, 103 of Missouri 114 counties - including all in Central Missouri - rejected the measure.

It passed, however, by substantial margins in the metropolitan areas and, ultimately, was approved with 51.6 percent of the popular vote.

That's the number that counts.

Proposition B was among the most discussed and debated issues on the November ballot. To contend the voters were misled undermines their intelligence.

It doesn't matter whether we - or other newspapers - opposed it, whether a vast majority of counties rejected it or whether legislators are happy with the outcome.

The initiative petition process, used to launch Proposition B, empowers people to propose public policy when their elected representatives fail to do so.

The proposition exemplifies the phrase "of the people and by the people." And our state motto reminds us to respect the welfare and the people, including their ability to determine what that is.

With regard to Proposition B, let it be.


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