2012 Session - Wrap-up and Follow-up!
The 2012 session of the Maryland General Assembly (MGA) has ended with two important successes for animals---THANKS TO YOU! Other bills were not acted on this year. Here’s a synopsis and analysis of the 2012 session for animal protection bills.
Thanks to you the MGA passed two vitally important bills: The Pet Store Bill (S.B.317 / H.B. 131) and the Extension of the Spay/Neuter Task Force (S.B.609 / H.B. 936). These bills are so overwhelming important to the welfare of Maryland’s animals that we have reason to celebrate! Hooray!
If you’d like to read the final version of these bills, here are the links to Maryland’s two new animal protection bills:
1) Pet Store bill – http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/bills/sb/sb0317t.pdf
2) Extension Spay/Neuter Task Force – http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/bills/sb/sb0609f.pdf
However, the MGA did not take action on some important bills, and four of them were defeated by Delegate Vallario and the notorious House Judiciary Committee: The Animal Abuse Registry bill, the Costs of Cruelty bill, the Shark Finning bill, the Baltimore Animal Control bill and the emergency Bait Dog bill that was introduced at the very end of the session. While I’m sure you’re as disappointed as we are, we need to keep in mind that most bills take three years to pass. So be patient, we’re definitely moving in the right direction!
Now it’s time to do some follow-up with your legislators to let them know that you’re paying attention to their votes and holding them accountable. Your follow-up will make all the difference in laying the groundwork for future passage of these and other animal protection bills! Please say thank you to your legislators who supported the bills and let those who voted against (or delayed) some bills know that you’re disappointed. Your “thank you” is a powerful incentive for your legislator to continue to stand up for the animals with his/her vote. Likewise, politely letting your legislator know that you’re disappointed can change an indifferent legislator into a powerful animal advocate. We’ve seen (and continue to see) this happen because of your activism on behalf of animals!
SUPPORTERS OF ANIMALS IN THE 2012 SESSION
The following legislators worked to help pass animal protection bills in the 2012 session. If one or more of these lawmakers are from your district, please email them to say thanks for sponsoring (or supporting) the bill listed adjacent to their name.
Note: If you need a reminder about who represents you go here: http://mdelect.net/. And please only write to YOUR LEGISLATORS. They only want to hear from you if you live in their particular district.
THANK YOU to every member of the Senate for their unanimous support of the Pet Store bill (S.B.317), and the Extension of the Spay/Neuter Task Force (S.B.609). See the floor votes here:
1) Senate Floor Votes for Pet Store bill – http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/votes/senate/0477.htm
2) Senate Floor Votes for Extension of Spay/Neuter Task Force – http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/votes/senate/0534.htm
THANK YOU to most of the members of the House who voted to pass the Pet Store bill (H.B. 131) and the Extension of the Spay/Neuter Task Force (H.B. 936). (A few members opposed these bills.) See the floor votes here:
1) House Floor Votes for Pet Store bill – http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/votes/house/0099.htm
2) House Floor Votes for Extension of Spay/Neuter Task Force – http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/votes/house/0384.htm
THANK YOU to Senator Benson (email@example.com) and Delegate Frush (firstname.lastname@example.org). – Primary sponsors of the Extension of the Spay/Neuter Task Force.
THANK YOU to Senator Young (email@example.com) and Delegate Frush (firstname.lastname@example.org). – Primary sponsors of the Animal Abuse Registry bill.
THANK YOU to Senator Zirkin (email@example.com), Senator Colburn (firstname.lastname@example.org), Delegate Simmons (email@example.com) and Delegate Haddaway-Riccio (firstname.lastname@example.org). – Primary sponsors of the two versions of the Costs of Cruelty bills.
THANK YOU to Delegate Kach (email@example.com). – Primary sponsor of the Baltimore Animal Control bill.
While not being primary sponsors, the following legislators took courageous stands for the animals in committee or by speaking up for a particular animal bill on the floor of the House or Senate:
THANK YOU to Senator Astle (firstname.lastname@example.org). – Worked on the Shark Finning bill.
THANK YOU to Delegates Waldstreicher (email@example.com), Valentino-Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org), Dwyer (email@example.com), Cluster (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Valderrama (email@example.com). – the compassionate and courageous legislators in House Judiciary Committee who voted for the Animal Abuse Registry bill. See the committee vote (where they voted against a motion to kill the bill) here: http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/votes_comm/hb1020_jud.pdf
THANK YOU to Delegates Waldstreicher (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Valderrama (email@example.com). – the two compassionate and courageous legislators in House Judiciary Committee who voted for the Baltimore County Animal Control Bill. See the committee vote (where they voted against a motion to kill the bill) here: http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/votes_comm/hb1021_jud.pdf
DISAPPOINTING LEGISLATORS, DISAPPOINTING COMMITTEE
The following legislators either delayed action on an important animal protection bill or worked to defeat it. If these are your legislators, please convert them into animal advocates by sending them a polite and professional email stating your disappointment with their vote. Remember, you catch more flies with honey!
DISAPPOINTING Delegate Vallario (firstname.lastname@example.org). – Many of you know by now that Delegate Vallario is the powerful Chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee and that he often kills animal bills. If Delegate Vallario is your delegate, please politely email him to say that you’re disappointed that he did not allow a vote on the Costs of Cruelty bill and the Bait Dog bill. He also did not support the Animal Abuse Registry bill and the Baltimore County Animal Control bill.
DISAPPOINTING House Judiciary Committee – The majority of the members of this committee voted to defeat the animal protection bills heard in this committee in 2012. (There were a few shinning exceptions as noted in the “Supporters” section above.) You can check for yourself the committee voting records of the House Judiciary Committee with these links. If your delegate sits on this powerful committee and they did not vote for animals, please politely let them know that you’re disappointed. Here’s a list of members with email addresses: http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/06hse/html/com/05jud.html
1) Animal Abuse Registry bill –http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/votes_comm/hb1020_jud.pdf (Note: They voted in favor of a motion to kill the bill.)
2) Baltimore County Animal Control bill – http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/votes_comm/hb1021_jud.pdf (Note: They voted in favor of a motion to kill the bill.)
DISAPPOINTING Delegates Dwyer (email@example.com), Glass (firstname.lastname@example.org), McConkey (email@example.com), McDermott (firstname.lastname@example.org), Miller, W. (email@example.com), Parrott (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Smigiel (email@example.com). – The only delegates in the House who voted against the Pet Store bill. See the House floor votes here: http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/votes/house/1112.htm
DISAPPOINTING Delegate Hough (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Delegate Parrott (email@example.com). – The only delegates in the House who voted against the Extension of the Spay/Neuter Task Force. See the House floor votes here: http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/votes/house/0384.htm
DISAPPOINTING Senator Gladden (firstname.lastname@example.org) – The only member of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee who voted against the Costs of Cruelty bill in committee. This is particularly disappointing---even mystifying---because Sen. Gladden has been such a strong animal advocate in the past. Therefore please write to tell her you’re disappointed and encourage her to vote consistently for animals, that you're counting on her help. See the committee vote here: http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/votes_comm/sb0203_jpr.pdf.
Very Important Note: You’ll notice that a few legislators (like Del. Dwyer and Del. McConkey, for example) are listed above as both “Supporters” and “Disappointing.” This is not unusual and there can be many reasons for it. It’s one powerful reason why your correspondence with your legislators should always be polite---and encouraging. You want to win your legislator over to consistent votes for animal protection because they know you’re paying attention to them, holding them accountable and encouraging them to join the ranks of Maryland’s animal advocates in the MGA!
Thanks for everything you did to make this session a success for animals! And stay tuned for progress on the continued work of the Spay/Neuter Task Force!
Sincerely, Carolyn and the Board of Directors of MVFA: Valerie, Kim, Joe, Kathy, Lynn, Frank, Michelle, Darlene, Harriett and David