This past week featured a flurry of activity on Beacon Hill, particularly for animal-based legislation, as several ARL priorities advanced.
Nero’s Law, filed after the tragic death of Sgt. Sean Gannon and wounding of his K9 partner Nero, was signed into law by the Governor.
Filed by staunch animal advocates Senator Mark Montigny and Representative Steven Xiarhos, this law will insure that police dogs like Nero have access to emergency care and transport.
ARL’s Director of Law Enforcement Joe King, former K9 handler and Major with the Massachusetts State Police, testified in support of this law earlier in the session.
With Hawaii joining the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact last year, Massachusetts is now the only state that is not a member.
Unfortunately, this means that Massachusetts is not a part of the network of 49 other states who share violations of hunting violations.
Massachusetts came one step closer to joining when the anti-poaching bill, filed by Representative Lori A. Ehrlich, Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante, and Senator Michael Moore, passed the House on February 9.
The bill is now in front of the Senate, where it has passed in previous sessions.
Joint Rule 10
One of the most important deadlines in the two-year legislative session is called “Joint Rule 10 Day”.
This year, February 2 was the deadline for bills to get initial approval, denial, or other action by committees.
Joint Committees are grouped by topics, and most of ARL’s bills go to committees like Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture; or Judiciary, but bills can go to any committee.
These committees hold hearings and then decide whether bills get favorable reports, adverse reports, or sent to study.
Occasionally committees will group bills together and issue a new draft that is a combination of similar bills.
Earlier in the session, a ban on unnecessary declawing also advanced from committee (S.222).
Several of ARL’s priorities were combined into one bill that would: expand the possession ban on animal ownership for convicted animal abusers, expand civil citation authority to more animals, allow DCF employees to report animal abuse at any point in an investigation, and increase funding to the Homeless Animal Fund (S. 2672).
This year, all of the bills ARL opposed were sent to study.
This is a great win to defend animal protection measures, but there are still efforts to expand hunting and trapping.
Unfortunately, several of ARL’s priority bills were also sent to study.
Efforts to ban the retail sale of pets, end breed discrimination in housing, and increase enforcement of tethering violations will not move forward this session.
Many bills are filed multiple times before passing, making it even more noteworthy when bills are able to move forward.
Advancing bills on Beacon Hill is no small feat, and we couldn’t do it without the help of incredible volunteers.
The session isn’t close to over—there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and help get these bills across the finish line and on the Governor’s desk before the end of session on July 31.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, or for ways to get involved.