As we reach mid-February, the picture for animal-related bills is coming into focus. As you have heard before, legislating during COVID is making for interesting times. One impact is that leadership has asked committees to limit the number of bills going to the floor. This means some of our bills got dropped.
So far, the line-up for animal bills moving to the hearing process looks like this: in the Environment Committee, HB 5806 (SB66) on import of trophy hunting of the “big six”; in the Planning and Development Committee, HB 5974 allowing for local control of pet shops; in Judiciary, SB 521 calling for a review of animal cruelty laws by the State Sentencing Commission. The biggest news so far— no hunting bills have been raised! If this holds, it means there will be no bill allowing a bear hunt or any of the other 20-plus bills introduced to expand hunting opportunities in the state. We are keeping a watchful eye, however, to ensure some form of expanded hunting doesn’t slip into an unsuspecting bill.
Getting any of these bills over the finish line is another process altogether. This is the time when your involvement – either testifying at a public hearing or reaching out to your legislators asking for their vote on a specific bill – is crucial. Watch for our Legislative Alerts in the coming weeks asking for your help. Remember to SPEAK UP FOR ANIMALS because if you don’t, who will?