“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead, anthropologist
The year 2017 saw a “small group of thoughtful, committed citizens” band together to create the Humane Society Legislative Fund of Kansas (HSLF of Kansas), a political advocacy organization for animal welfare. We began our inaugural year by adopting a bold agenda, and then, simply, unleashing our passion.
This translated into numerous one-on-one meetings with legislators, listening to their concerns and providing pertinent information. We also organized expert testimonies and prepared fact sheets for hearings and committee meetings. As votes were taken, we conducted head counts to gauge support and plot strategy. Finally, we worked on outreach and communications by establishing a website, social media presence, launching an electronic newsletter for legislators and reaching out to Kansas media to engage newspapers and radio/television in our issues.
Here are a few 2017 animal welfare legislative accomplishments to which HSLF of Kansas contributed:
- For the first time in nearly 30 years, we documented that a majority of the Kansas Legislature supports updating the Kansas Pet Animal Act, including both urban and rural legislators.
- A Legislative Post Audit of the state’s Animal Facility Inspection Program (AFI) is currently underway and is expected to reveal areas where the AFI program can be improved. The LPA will hopefully result in an improved enforcement program and fewer puppy mills in Kansas.
- An attempt to bring back greyhound racing in Kansas (SB 207/S Sub for HB 2386/HB 2173) was defeated (though it could be resurrected in 2018).
- A law governing animal cruelty (HB 2302), which will help local governments and law enforcement recover costs of animal care in cruelty cases, was signed by the Governor Brownback and went into effect July 1, 2017.
- A law preventing private ownership of dangerous exotic animals as pets (SB 162/HB 2276) remained “alive” for 2018.
- Our HSLF of Kansas PAC helped to educate candidates running for office and made campaign contributions to legislators who support animal welfare issues.
Not only is this good news for thousands of animals across our state, these advancements provide a strong, flexible springboard from which we can launch our 2018 agenda. We also plan to explore new legislative opportunities that would result in improved animal welfare across our state.
On behalf of HSLF of Kansas, thank you for your support and interest this past year. We look forward to bringing our enthusiasm, dedication and passion for animals to achieve even greater accomplishments in 2018.