Oct 26 2010

In Brief: Environmental and Animal Law on the Ballot

The 2010 midterms are not just for choosing which person to send to Washington, they also contain some interesting new propositions that may become law in several states.  In honor of election day, here is a quick and dirty look at some of the biggest proposed laws on the ballot for 2010 as they relate to environmental and animal law.  Check back after November 2 for the outcomes on each of these initiatives.

Missouri: Proposition B

Purpose: to address the problem of puppy mills, a term generally used to refer to places where dogs are bred in very poor conditions, mothers never let outside of their cages, and puppies are riddled with genetic and behavioral problems.

What it does: (Full text can be found here).  Proposition B will affect those who keep more than ten female, un-spayed dogs for the purposes of breeding them and selling the puppies to be used as pets.  Such people are not allowed to have more than fifty dogs that are intact and over the age of 6 months for the purposes of breeding and selling the puppies.  These dogs must be

provided with the following:

  • Sufficient food and clean water defined as nutritious food at least once a day and constant access to potable water
  • Necessary veterinary care includes exams once a year and prompt treatment for injuries and illnesses
  • Sufficient housing, meaning an indoor enclosure with a solid floor that is not stacked and is cleaned at least once a day, including controlling the temperature to stay between 45 and 85 degrees Farenheit
  • Sufficient space to turn in a complete circle, lie down and fully extend their limbs, one foot of headroom, and certain amount of required square footage according to the size of the dogs (see full text)
  • Regular exercise defined as constant access to an outdoor area with some protection from sun, wind, rain, and snow
  • Adequate rest between breeding cycles, meaning no more than 2 litters per dog per 18 month period.

Violation of the provisions would be a Class C misdemeanor unless they have a previous conviction in which case it would be increased to a Class A misdemeanor.

Supporters: Humane Society of the United States, YES! on Prop B, Animal Law Coalition, ASPCA

Opponents: United for Missouri, AKC, Sportsmen’s and Animal Owner’s Voting Alliance, Agricultural Business Council

Outcome: Passed with 51% of the vote

California: Proposition 23

Purpose: To promote job creation by reducing the costs associated with implementing AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2003.

What it does: (Full text can be found here pg 106)  Proposition 23 would suspend the implementation of AB 32 until California’s unemployment rate was lowered to 5.5% or less for four consecutive calendar quarters.

Supporters: Yes on 23, Valero and Tesoro oil companies, Koch brothers

Opponents: No on 23, President Barack Obama, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, PG&E

Outcome: Defeated with 60% of the vote

Florida: Amendment 4

Purpose: To curb the high-paced rate of residential and commercial growth in Florida and preserve the natural land and quality of life of Floridians.  It’s meant to address the increasing number of buildings going up, requiring the land to be rezoned, and then not being filled; currently there are 300,000 empty residential units around the state and further plans to add “550,000 residential units and 1.4 billion square feet of commercial space.”

What it does: (Full text can be found here)  Amendment 4, also called “Hometown Democracy Land Use,” would require any changes in the land use plans (defined as any plan guiding “future land development in an area under the jurisdiction of the local government”) to be voted on and approved by that local government’s constituency before they go into effect.  Notification of proposed changes would be published in a local newspaper for general circulation before the referendum.

Supporters: Vote Yes on 4, Winter Park City Commissioner, Audubon of Martin County (pdf), Florida Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club of Florida, Clean Water Action

Opponents: No on 4, City of Orlando, Palm Beach Gardens, and others, Daytona Beach News Journal, Jacksonville Florida-Times Union, Palm Beach Post, Orlando Sentinel, Florida Chamber of Commerce

Outcome: Defeated with 67% of the vote

Arizona: Proposition 301

Purpose: With the economy as it is and many states in the red in terms of their budget, this proposition would help to balance Arizona’s state budget.

What it does: (Full text can be found here) The proposition is very simple, stating that the balance of monies in Arizona’s land conservation fund would be moved to the state’s general fund ont he date the proposition is enacted.  According to most sources, this would be about $124 million and may affect 2 pending applications for conservation funds.

Supporters: Inside Tuscon Business, Arizona Daily Star, AZ Legislative District 20 Republican Party, The Daily Courier

Opponents: Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, The Arizona Republic, Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter, Arizona Wilderness Coalition

Outcome: Defeated with 74% of the vote

Iowa: Question #1

Purpose: To preserve and restore agricultural soils and increase water quality in Iowa.  Right now, there are 500 bodies of water that are considered “impaired” in Iowa, with at least one in every county.  Soil and runoff are the biggest pollutants.  Farms lose about 5 tons of soil per acre, per year, which harms the agricultural industry that is very important to Iowa’s economy.  Iowa also ranks near the bottom in terms of spending on conservation.  Question #1 was passed by both the state House and Senate before it reached the ballot.

What it does: (Full text can be found here) More commonly referred to as Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy, Question #1 is an amendment that would create a trust fund within the treasury for preserving natural resources and natural spaces such as parks.  It would also be used for increasing water quality and “conserving agricultural soils.”   It would be funded by any increase in the sales tax, up to 3/8 of 1% of the increase.

Supporters: Vote Yes on Question #1, Iowa State Daily, Blue Planet Green Living, Ducks Unlimited, 1000 Friends of Iowa

Opponents: Iowa Farm Bureau, The Iowa Republican, Press Citizen, Bangor Daily News,

Outcome: Passed

Comments Off on In Brief: Environmental and Animal Law on the Ballot

Comments are closed at this time.