Today is the last day for California legislators to introduce bills. This is a general overview of the California legislative process and this is the 2011 legislative calendar.
As of 2/18/2011, these are the bills I plan on tracking for both personal and professional reasons. Some of them might interest my California readers. This post will be updated when it is time for bills to be heard in committee and the house/senate or when substantive changes are made to the language. I will include contact information for legislators when the time is appropriate. It's easy to be part of the legislative process. Remember, legislators understand that one letter from a constituent is not just one letter but represents thousands of other constituents who feel the same way. Your voice counts. Be involved.
AB 258 - Rabies Exemption
Introduced By: Assembly Member Hagman
What it Would Do: Would amend the Health and Safety Code to permit exemptions to the current rabies license law. It would allow an annual exemption of the rabies vaccine to dogs whose lives might be endangered by the vaccine, as determined by a veterinarian. It would require that any dog who is deemed exempt from a rabies vaccine be leashed at all times when off the home property and not have contact with any other unvaccinated dog or cat. Dogs exempted would be legally considered unvaccinated. The law would prohibit the license exemption from extending beyond a year, and an annual renewal would be required.
Status: Assembly Committee on Agriculture
What I Like: Provides options to guardians concerned about the negative health consequences of over-vaccination. Allows diseased or immunocompromised dogs the chance to live a longer life without aggravating their disease with a vaccine.
What I Don't Like: Criminalizes dog owners by forcing them to confine their dogs on leashes off their home property and essentially prohibits contact with other dogs and cats. Defines an exempted dog as "unvaccinated" - this is not necessarily a medical reality as far as antibodies are concerned. The language for the issuance of an exemption states that the local health officer may issue an exemption. That means they may not.
What I would Like to See Change: Change of the word "may" to "shall" or some other less vague legalese word. Elimination of the leashed requirements off home property. Elimination of language that claims an exempted dog is unvaccinated. Perhaps replace with language that requires titering and antibody levels BEFORE labeling the dog unvaccinated.
Position: Tentative Support
AB 376 - Prohibition of Shark Fin Sales/Possession
Introduced by Assembly Members Fong and Huffman
What It Would Do: Would add a section to the Fish and Game Code that would make it unlawful for anyone to possess, sell or offer for sale shark fins, as specified.
Status: Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife
What I Like: Sharks.
What I don't Like: Shark Finning
What I would Like to See Change: Nothing
AB 564 - Spay-Neuter Fund
Introduced by Assemblymember Cameron Smyth
What it Would Do: Requires tax preparers to notify taxpayers of volunteer contribution funds. Would add, if another fund option is removed, the Municipal Shelter SPay-Neuter Fund check-off.
What I Like: Shelter animals getting spayed and neutered.
Status: Assembly Revenue and Taxation, hearing 4/4/11
AB 606 - Use of Conservation Easements for Hunting and Fishing
Introduced by Assemblymember Gatto
What it Would Do: Require state-owned conservation easements to be accessible to hunters and fisherpeople.
Status: Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife, 3/22/11
What I Like: Shooting animals - WITH MY CAMERA.
What I Don't Like: Shooting animals - WITH MY GUN.
AB 1117 - Penalties for Animal Cruelty
Introduced by Assemblymember Cameron Smyth
What It Would Do: Requires a mandatory ban on ownership of animals for those convicted of a misdemeanor or felony animal cruelty/neglect violation (5-yr ban for the former, 10-yrs for the latter). Requires those convicted of animal cruelty relinquish ownership of animals, if they have paid for their care in the shelter.
What I Like: Mandatory ban on owning animals after being convicted of cruelty to animals.
What I Don't Like: The livestock exemption. Lack of wording to ensure relinquished animals are rehomed, not killed.
AB 1162 - Poaching Penalties
Introduced by Assemblymember Wes Chesbro
What It Would Do: Increases the maximum civil penalty for poaching from $10,000 to $40,000.
SB 425 - Animal Fighting
Introduced by Senator Calderon
What It Would Do: Would require minimum fines for the following: persons found guilty of dog fighting, being a spectator at a prize fight, using caged live animals to train dogs, possession of paraphernalia related to cockfighting.
What I Like: To understand this bill requires understanding how difficult it has been implementing any change in the current animal fighting laws, especially cockfighting (which remains a wobbler law - misdemeanor first, felony MAYBE afterwards). Our prison system is severely overcrowded and costly. The legislature has, for the past several years, fought tooth and nail against any introduced bill that would change misdemeanors to felonies or increase prison times for existing felonies. This is one way of increasing penalties for animal bloodsports without increasing prison times.
What I Don't Like: Cockfighting should be a felony, period.
SB 917 - Sale of Animals, Animal Abuse Penalties
Introduced by Senator Ted Lieu
What It WOuld Do: Ban the sale of animals in parking lots, carnivals, boardwalks, public right of ways. Would allow jail time for those convicted of cruelly treating animals.