United States legislative roundup

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  September 2002:

California Governor Gray Davis in mid-July signed into law a
bill by state assembly member Virginia Strom-Martin (D-Duncans Mills)
which encourages human services personnel to report any suspected
cases of animal abuse they may encounter on the job.  Animal cruelty
investigators are already required to report any suspected cases of
child abuse that they discover.  The Strom-Martin bill was introduced
to mandate cross-reporting,  but was amended to be non-binding after
child welfare agencies testified that the cumulative cost of the
extra paperwork would be about $200,000 statewide per year.

On July 7,  Governor Davis signed into law a bill introducing
criminal penalties for falsely representing foods as meeting Muslim
dietary standards,  such as misidentifying a pork product as another
type of meat,  failing to identify the use of alcohol as a food
ingredient,  or misrepresenting conventionally slaughtered meat as
having come from halal slaughter.  Similar laws already exist in New
Jersey,  Minnesota,  and Illinois,  with bills pending in New York,
Texas,  and Virginia.  The Illinois law may have some value in
helping to accurately identify vegetarian foods,  and in ensuring
that halal butchers are registered and inspected.  One reason for the
introduction of such bills is the reported proliferation of
unlicensed,  uninspected backyard slaughtering businesses,  operating
in disregard of any animal welfare standards,  in some cities with
large Muslim populations.  Similar legislation in many states has for
decades governed kosher slaughter and distribution of meat killed by
sport hunters.

Nebraska Governor Mike Jo-hanns on July 5 signed into law a
set of regulations prohibiting the capture and sale of any of the 62
native Nebraska reptiles and amphibians.  Adopted by the Nebraska
Game and Parks Commission in January 2002,  the regulations implement
a 1993 law –and fulfill a 30-year quest by Angie Byorth,  of
Lincoln,  who changed her middle name to “Turtle Lady” and sought
election to public office to publicize the plight of Nebraska herps.
Similar regulations are under consideration in Maine,  where the
Depart-ment of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in May 2002 proposed a
limited turtle-trapping season,  then withdrew that proposal to
recommend no legal turtle-trapping.

The Arkansas Secretary of State on July 23 certified that a
proposed citizen initiative to create felony penalties for animal
cruelty and cockfighting has been endorsed by enough registered
voters to qualify for the November 2 state ballot.

Illinois Governor George Ryan in July signed into law three
bills which prohibit awarding rabbits,  ducklings,  or chickens as
prizes in fairground games,  make bestiality a felony,  and increase
the penalties for injuring a police,  search-and-rescue,  or service

Floridans for Humane Farms on July 23 turned over to the
Secretary of State for validation 690,749 signatures on petitions
seeking an initiative ban on raising pigs in close-confinement sow

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture Animal Control
Advisory Board has set an August 30 deadline for submissions of
designs for a special license plate to be sold to fund a pet
sterilization program,  recently authorized by the state legislature
and endorsed by Governor Paul Patton.

Tennessee Governor Don Sund-quist on July 15 signed into law
a bill creating a felony penalty for aggravated cruelty to animals
and establishing additional non-criminal punishments for persons
convicted.  The law exempts “dispatching wild or abandoned animals on
a farm,”  anything done to “horses and livestock,”  and “applying
methods and equipment used to train animals,”  as well as  “lawful
hunting,  fishing,  or trapping,”  “bona-fide scientific tests,”  and
“engaging in normal practices accepted by colleges of agriculture or
veterinary medicine.”

New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey on July 25 signed an
executive order creating a state task force to examine  means of
implementing changes to the state anti-cruelty laws recommended in
2001 by the State Commission of Investigations,  after a three-year
probe of alleged misconduct by some chapters of the New Jersey SPCA.

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