The 2021 Oregon Legislature is well past the midway mark, with the number of bills significatly reduced. Bills needed to pass their first committee by April 13 and, as expected, many did not. Several animal-related bills (good and bad) did not survive, but several are still in play. Here are highlights from the session so far:
House Bill 2728, the bill to ban coyote-killing contests, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 32-14 (14 representatives were absent, primarily due to coronavirus concerns). It still needs approval from the state Senate and the Governor to become law and is now in the Senate Commitee on Energy and Environment, which must approve it before it can go to the full Senate. What you can do: 1. Contact your state senator and ask your senator to support the bill and to request that it be scheduled for a hearing and "work session" by the committee. 2. Contact the committee chair, Senator Lee Beyer, and ask him to schedule the bill for a hearing and work session. Your talking points can be simple: coyote-killing contests disrespect our wildlife and are not necessary to protect people, pets or farm animals (science shows they may do more harm than good for that).
Several good bills have been passed by their first committee and are now in the Joint Committee on Ways & Means, which decides if there is enough money to pay for them. These include: House Bills 2171 and 2913, both of which would provide money to support fish and wildlife in ways that do not involve hunting or fishing; House Bill 3024, which would further restrict keeping captive wildlife in part to reduce risk of zoonotic disease; and House Bill 2691, which would direct a study to reduce bird deaths from wind energy turbines. What you can do: If you want one or more of these bills to get funding, let your state senator and state representative know, especially if they are on the Ways & Means Committee (follow the links to their legislative web page to see what committees they are on).
Most bills we opposed have died, including bills to allow cougar hunting with dogs, bills to extend a tax benefit for processing cow manure (incentivizing factory farms), several bills to kill wildlife scapegoated for the decline of other wildlife (species that eat salmon, for example) and a bill to give business costs special consideration in agency rulemaking proceedings including proceedings to protect animals.
Unfortanately, many good bills also died because policy makers aren't quite ready for them. These include bills to put a moratorium on factory dairies, ban animal testing for cosmetics, ban the sale of fur, phase out mink farms, ban traveling animal acts, and prohibit shooting and trapping of beavers on federal public lands.
For a complete list of the bills we are tracking and where they stand, click here. To see the full text of a bill, along with its history, scheduled events and other information, click on the bill number in our list.
Please also feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.
Thank you for helping us advocate for animals!