Sunday, March 2, 2014

Legislation Updates and Hearing Alerts March 2, 2014

SAOVA Friends,

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed into law a bill to protect animal production facilities from outside interference and undercover videotaping. Idaho joins Iowa, Utah and Missouri in passing recent laws to protect producers and the animal agriculture industry. The governor, in signing the bill, said Idaho agricultural producers must be “secure in their property and their livelihood.” S 1337 passed the Senate 23-10-2 and the House 56-14. Three other states, North Dakota, Montana and Kansas, adopted the first generation of such measures during the 1990-91 legislative seasons.

This week Indiana legislature passed a Right to Farm bill codifying the state’s policy to protect and encourage agriculture. S 186 declares the Indiana Code shall be construed to protect the rights of farmers to choose among all generally accepted farming and livestock production practices, including the use of ever changing technology. The bill passed the Senate 40-8 and the House 67-30.

A pair of Tennessee bills are moving that would make it unlawful to use a drone with the intent to conduct video surveillance of private citizens who are lawfully hunting or fishing without obtaining the written consent of the persons being surveilled prior to conducting the surveillance.  SB 1777 passed the Senate 31-0 and will be sent to the House.  HB 1952 has been placed on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee calendar for 3/4/2014.

Additional bills and votes, when available, are tracked at the SAOVA website  Please check weekly for updates. Several bills have upcoming hearings and need your immediate attention. Cross posting is encouraged.

Susan Wolf
Sportsmen's & Animal Owners' Voting Alliance
Working to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators

HB 4188 Animal Abuse Registry, Sponsor Maria Antonia Berrios (D-39) Amends the Humane Care for Animals Act and provides that the Department of Agriculture shall create and maintain an animal abuse registry. Failure to register is a Class B misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 4 felony for a subsequent violation. Persons must register annually until a court order allows the registration to cease.

OPPOSE HB 4188. Animal abuse cases comprise less than 1% of all convictions in the State of Illinois.  Advocates claim the registry will make neighborhoods and pets safer, but this promised scenario is an overly simplified solution to an extremely complicated, multifaceted problem. Animal cruelty cases are greatly varied; cruelty convictions can include anyone from an overwhelmed animal rescuer to grandma who cannot afford her dog's vet care. However, the vast majority of animal cruelty involves neglect by the animal’s owner and many cases often involve hoarders. Treatment of hoarders by mental health services seems a more prudent course of action in these situations than years of public exposure and humiliation on web site lists where they are unrealistically stereotyped as dangers to society

Agriculture & Conservation Committee Hearing scheduled for March 4, 2014 2:00 PM Stratton Building Room D-1 Springfield, IL.
Chair, Rep. Patrick J. Verschoore Phone: (217) 782-5970.
Vice Chair, Jerry Costello, II,  Phone: (217) 782-1018
Republican Spokesperson, Donald Moffitt,  Phone: (217) 782-8032
Committee Contact:

SB3138 Do Not Adopt Registry, Sponsor Sen. Sue Rezin (R, 38). Chief Cosponsor Senator William E. Brady (R, 44).  Bill requires the clerk of court to send notice of all animal cruelty convictions including the defendant's name, date of birth, physical description, and other necessary information to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) for inclusion in their "Do Not Adopt" online registry. Mandates that a shelter, pet store, animal breeder, or individual must conduct a search of the national Do Not Adopt Registry prior to selling, transferring, delivering, or placing for adoption a companion animal to another person.

OPPOSE: SAOVA is adamantly opposed to Animal Abuser Registries and especially one that is privately owned and managed by the radical Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). Once this information is released the state loses control over what ALDF might choose to do with it.  There are no provisions incorporated in SB3138 placing time limits for the registrant to be included in the database. There are no agreements regarding confidentiality and liability and/or limiting how ALDF can use personal information received. Unfortunately Sponsor Senator Sue Rezin is very proud of the bill and hopes to make Illinois the first state in the nation to opt-in to the ALDF registry.

Labor and Commerce Hearing Mar 5, 2014 11:00 AM Capitol 212 Springfield, IL
Senator Gary Forby, Chair, Phone (217) 782-5509
Senator Linda Holmes, Vice Chair, Phone (217) 782-0422
Senator Jim Oberweis, Minority Spokesperson, Phone (217) 782-0471
Senator Sue Rezin, Phone (217) 782-3840
Senator William Brady, Phone  (217) 782-6216
Full committee:

H 3985 Dangerous Wild Animals Act.  There will be a meeting of the Wildlife Subcommittee Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 2:30 PM in Room 410 of the Blatt Building. The bill will ban possession of big cats and any hybrids, wolves, bears, and many species of reptiles, amphibians and mammals including boa constrictors, reticulated pythons, Burmese pythons and crocodilians.  All species listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act are considered dangerous wild animals in this bill; this means that some species of salamanders, iguanas, fish, and even birds could be considered “dangerous” even if captive bred.
Sample letter and committee contact information at USARK:

SB 2468 Continuation of Commercial Breeder Act. Under present law, the Commercial Breeder Act requires licensure for any person who possesses 20 or more unsterilized adult female dogs or cats for the purpose of selling the offspring as companion animals. The Act is presently scheduled to expire on June 30, 2014. SB 2468 removes the expiration date from the Act so that the Act will continue to be effective beyond the sunset date of June 30, 2014. The law enacted in 2009 projected that the Act would generate more than $1 million dollars per year from licensing revenue received from an estimated 500 licensed breeders (based partially on HSUS figures). The actual number of licensed breeders as of FY2012 was 20, actual licensing revenue was $70,200, and the increased cost to taxpayers to administer the program was $365,600.

Dog and cat owners have an opportunity to end state licensing of breeders by opposing SB 2468 and allowing the commercial breeder act to expire.

A hearing is scheduled in Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee March 12, 2014.
Senator Steve Southerland, Chair, (615) 741-3851,
Senator Mae Beavers, 1st Vice Chair, (615) 741-2421,
Senator Jim Summerville, 2nd Vice Chair, (615) 741-4499,
Senator Mike Bell, (615) 741-1946,
Senator Charlotte Burks, (615) 741-3978,
Senator Ophelia Ford, (615) 741-1767,
Senator Todd Gardenhire, (615) 741-6682,
Senator Dolores R. Gresham, (615) 741-2368,
Senator Frank S. Niceley, (615) 741-2061,

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