Legislative Calendar

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  July/August 2003:

Reviewing proposed amendments to the Fiscal Year 2004
Agriculture Appropriations Act,  the House of Representatives on July
14 added $800,000 to the USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection
Service budget to support enforcement of legislation banning the
interstate transport of gamecocks and fighting dogs,  by a vote of
222-179,  but voted 202-199 against an amendment by Representatives
Gary Ackerman (D-NY) and Steve Latourette (R-Ohio) that would have
forbidden processing non-ambulatory livestock for human consumption.
This was the closest that Ackerman has come yet in many attempts to
pass “anti-downer” legislation.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush on June 17 signed a bill allocating
taxes on boat fuel to help fund manatee protection programs,  and on
June 24 signed a bill that allows law enforcement agencies to obtain
search warrants to raid suspected animal fights at any time of night
or day,  expands the state prohibition on participating in animal
fighting to include breeding,  selling,  transporting,  or even just
owning an animal trained to fight,  and clarifies that “animal
fighting” includes fights involving dogs,  cocks and other birds,
and bears,  as well as of any other species.

As a highlight of the Hawaiian Humane Society’s June 21
“Petwalk 2003” fundraiser at Magic Island,  Hawaii Governor Linda
Lingle signed new state quarantine regulations  for dogs and cats
that reduce the mandatory holding time to five days.  Requiring that
animals be confined for 30 days if vaccinated against rabies,  and
120 days if not,  the previous quarantine rules were introduced in
1912 and amended in 1997.

Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski on June 18 signed a bill by
state senator Ralph Seekins (R-Fairbanks) to ease the institution of
predator control programs by the Alaska Board of Game and reinstate
land-and-shoot wolf hunting,  which has already twice been banned by
voter initiative.            Alaska Lieutenant Governor
Loren Leman on June 18 authorized an initiative petition filed by
retired hunting guide George Pollard,  guide John Erickson,  and
former Lieutenant Governor Lowell Thomas Jr. to prohibit using food
handouts to lure bears to be shot by hunters.  If Pollard,  Erickson,
and Thomas can obtain 23,285 valid signatures within one year,  the
initiaive will go before Alaska voters in November 2004.  Pollard,
Erickson,  and Thomas prepared the petition after Alaska
Congressional Representative Don Young opposed a federal bill to ban
bear-baiting by saying the issue should be left to state
jurisdiction.  Three states have already banned bear-baiting by
initiative.  The federal bill was introduced by Representative Elton
Gallegly (R-California),  with 175 co-sponsors,  but is not expected
to get past strong opposition within the House Resources Committee.

New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey announced on July 9
that he will not veto the 8-1 recommendation of the state Fish & Game
council that a six-day bear hunting season should be held this
fall–the first bear season in New Jersey since 1970.  McGreevey had
opposed bear hunting during his election campaign.  Said McGreevey
spokesperson Mica Rasmussen,  “The governor would love to be able to
stop the bear hunt,  but unfortunately does not have any good
alternatives right now.  He definitely has personal reservations
about allowing some of these wonderful creatures to be killed,  but
is acting in the interest of public safety.”

The New York state legislature on June 20 sent to Governor
George Pataki a bill to extend the existing law against shooting
non-native mammals if confined in 10 acres or less to cover shooting
the animals in confinement of any size.  The expanded anti-canned
hunt bill was sponsored by state senator Frank Padavan of Queens and
assembly member Scott Stringer of Manhattan.

Texas Governor Rick Perry during the last week in June
shocked the Texas Farm Bureau by vetoing a $6.6 million appropriation
to fund the Texas Wildlife Damage Management Service.  Formed as the
Rodent Control Service in 1929,  the 157-person agency works parallel
to USDA Wildlife Services to kill predators and so-called nuisance
species,  but has also helped to direct the Texas Oral Rabies
Project,  whose air drops of vaccine pellets,  begun in 1995,  are
credited with virtually eradicating rabies among South Texas coyotes
and foxes.

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