NEW ANIMAL RIGHTS FUNDRAISING BILL DEVELOPING IN MISSOURI
At the beginning of 2016, Oklahoma began the unprecedented process of taking specific action against animal rights organizations by introducing a measure which would hold these groups accountable for their fundraising efforts in the state - banning them from doing so unless that money was spent towards programs in the state.
House Bill 2250's specific language, as introduced by veterinarian and State Representative Brian Renegar:
“No animal rights charitable organization, professional fundraiser for an animal rights charitable organization or professional solicitor employed or retained by a professional fundraiser for an animal rights charitable organization shall engage in the solicitation of contributions from any person in this state intended to be used on program services outside of this state or functional expenses outside of this state.”
This occurred after repeated transgressions from Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) against Oklahoma and its citizens.
Following HB 2250's introduction, some of its supporters felt that HSUS was attempting to silence them with veiled threats in order to kill the legislation.
The bill is currently being reviewed in committee. Meanwhile, it appears as though this bill has inspired legislators from other states to follow Oklahoma's example.
In Missouri, House Bill 2604 was introduced in February by State Representative Charlie Davis. Similar to Oklahoma HB 2250, this bill would prohibit animal rights charitable organizations from soliciting contributions intended for use outside the state or for political purposes.
Missouri, much like Oklahoma, has a dramatic history with HSUS. The group was prevalent in the fight over Proposition B, a deceptively-titled bill acting as a Trojan horse to threaten the entirety of Missouri agriculture, as well as the fight over Amendment 1 (the Right to Farm Amendment).
According to the bill's language, the term "animal rights charitable organization" refers to any individual, group, association, partnership, limited liability company, trust, or other entity soliciting contributions in the state, other than a natural person, that is described in 26 U.S.C. Section 501(c), that is organized and operated primarily to benefit animal rights.
Back in January, when we first heard about Oklahoma's animal rights fundraising bill, we wondered if other states would be quick to follow suit; Missouri looks to be on the front end of such states.