Gov. Nixon vetoes two bills defining captive deer as livestock
Governor points out Missouri Constitution gives Conservation
Commission sole regulatory authority over wildlife; says bill
provisions are clearly unconstitutional


COLUMBIA, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon today vetoed two bills that would have
redefined the term "livestock" to include captive deer in order to
eliminate the role of the Missouri Department of Conservation in
regulating white-tailed deer. The Governor said those provisions of
Senate Bill 506 and House Bill 1326
would go against longstanding successful conservation practices and
also would clearly violate the Missouri Constitution, which gives
exclusive authority over game and wildlife resources to the Missouri
Conservation Commission.


"For more than 75 years, our Department of Conservation has been held
up as a model for wildlife management agencies across the country
because of its incredible success," Gov. Nixon said. "Redefining deer
as livestock to remove the regulatory role of Department defies both
its clear record of achievement as well as common sense. White-tailed
deer are wildlife and also game animals - no matter if they're roaming
free, or enclosed in a fenced area."


In his veto message, the Governor cites the exclusive authority of the
Missouri Conservation Commission provided by the Missouri Constitution
under Article IV, Section 40(a). He also said that under the
stewardship of the Missouri Department of Conservation, the state's
population of white-tailed deer has grown from fewer than 2,000 in the
early 1930s to an estimated 1.3 million today, and that the 500,000
deer hunters contribute $1 billion to Missouri's economy.


"Growing and managing our deer herd and fostering the hunting
opportunities that we enjoy takes hard work and sound science, and the
Department of Conservation should be commended for employing both to
preserve this important part of our heritage, not stripped of its
authority to do so in order to protect narrow interests," the veto
message reads.


Gov. Nixon noted that "it is unfortunate that the legislature insisted
on amending this unconstitutional provision to two pieces of
legislation that otherwise contain worthy provisions advancing
Missouri agriculture."


The Governor discussed his actions on the two bills at a special
meeting today of the Missouri Conservation Commission in Columbia.

The veto message on Senate Bill 506 can be found
here<http://governor.mo.gov/sites/default/files/SB%20506.pdf>, and the
veto message on House Bill 1326 can be found
here<http://governor.mo.gov/sites/default/files/HB%201326.pdf>.