Missouri Capitol Building

The Missouri House has approved legislation sponsored by state Rep. Bryan Spencer that would protect existing businesses that involve working animals and animal enterprises from overly burdensome regulations or outright bans.

Spencer’s legislation passed the House by a vote of 104-42. It is now under consideration by the Missouri Senate.

Spencer said the intent of HB 559 is to allow a local government to continue operating as normal but to prevent government from regulating existing, legal businesses out of business.

“We want municipalities to have local control and to be able to operate as they always have, but we also want to protect the law-abiding business owner who has followed the rules from seeing those rules change just to shut the business down,” said Spencer, R-Wentzville.

In effect, Spencer’s legislation would protect existing businesses such as horse-drawn carriage rides from being regulated out of existence by municipalities. The legislation would not affect new businesses that are being created, but applies only to existing businesses that local governments have already given permission to operate.

Spencer noted that working animals are inspected and regulated to ensure proper care for the animal, and to ensure the health and safety of the people the animal serves. He said his goal is to ensure these reasonable standards remain in place, but to prevent municipalities from overregulating an existing, legal business in an effort to shut it down.

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