The 2023 Oregon Legislature is entering its final month. Several important bills impacting animals are still alive, but a boycott of Senate floor sessions by most Republicans is preventing the Senate from conducting business and threatening passage of any bill that still needs Senate approval. Keep reading for information on the animal-related bills that remain and what you can still do to help.
House Bill 3213, the humane cosmetics bill, passed the House of Representatives and a Senate committee. To become law, it needs only approval from the full Senate and the Governor. This bill would generally prohibit the sale in Oregon of cosmetics tested on animals, which is cruel and unnecessary for most cosmetics and ingredients. By passing HB 3213, Oregon would join nearly 30 countries and 10 states in prohibiting the sale of animal-tested cosmetics. We support this bill.
House Bill 2915 would shrink the market for puppy mills and other mass breeding operations by prohibiting the sale of dogs and cats at retail pet stores. The bill has passed the House and a Senate committe and now needs approval only from the full Senate and the Governor. We support this bill.
House Bill 3464 would change the classification of beavers under the wildlife laws so they would be better managed and less likely to get killed to protect private property. Currently considered a "predatory" species on private land, even though they eat only plants, beavers can be killed without a permit or a report to state officials. HB 3664 would change that classification and generally require a permit for killing beavers, which would encourage more tolerance and appreciation for the animals and the ways in which their dams help to create healthy watersheds. This bill also needs only a vote from the Senate and approval from the Governor to become law. We support this bill.
House Bill 2904 would require Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) to provide more information on its website about its use of non-human primates for research and experiments, which we hope will lead to better treatment of the animals. This bill has also been passed by the House and a Senate committee and needs only a favorable vote in the Senate and approval from the Governor. We support this bill.
House Bill 3384 would make aggravated animal neglect a felony and make it a crime to interfere with an investigation into a crime against an animal. This bill passed out of a House committee and was referred to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means where it is being considered along with numerous other bills expected to require expenditure of state funds. We support this bill.
Senate Bill 696 would provide state funding for a position in the Oregon Department of Justice to focus on prosecution of crimes against animals. Currently, this position is funded by a nonprofit organization. This bill has been passed by a House committee and is now being considered by the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. We support this bill.
House Bill 3514 would further limit betting on greyhound racing through licensees of the Oregon Racing Commission. Greyhound racing is no longer allowed in Oregon, but the Racing Commission licenses operations that accept betting on races in other jurisdictions, which helps to promote this inhumane activity. This bill has been passed by a House Committee and is now being considered by the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. We support this bill.
Senate Bill 85, relating to confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), was amended and passed by the Senate Rules Committee and referred to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means where it will be considered along with other bills expected to have a fiscal impact. As amended, the bill would increase the regulatory review for new and expanding large CAFOs but would not impose a moratorium on large factory farms, which we were seeking as part of the Stand Up to Factory Farms (SUFF) coalition. A proposed provision to create a "work group" to consider animal welfare reforms for CAFOs was stripped from the bill. Along with SUFF, we are now taking a neutral position on this bill.
House Bill 2510 would make more lottery money available to state fairs and dedicate a portion of lottery revenue to promotion of horse racing. Because horse racing raises significant animal welfare issues, we oppose supporting it with government funds. This bill has been passed by a House Committee and is now being considered by the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. We oppose this bill.
Also still in play are state agency budgets that have the potential to impact animal welfare. For example, the Governor's recommended budget for the Department of Fish and Wildlife failed to include an agency-recommended program to focus on strategies for people to co-exist with wildlife. On the positive side, the Governor's proposed budget for that department and the Department of Agriculture excluded funding for a controversial federal program that overemphasizes killing wildlife, often with cruel methods, as the solution to human-wildlife conflicts. Decisions on whether to follow those recommendations are now in the hands of Natural Resources Subcommittee of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means, which will take up the relevant budget bills this coming week.
For a full list of the most significant bills we are tracking this session, including those that have already died by failing to meet key legislative deadlines, go 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.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
We encourage you to contact your state legislators at any time about any of these bills. Click here to find out who your legislators are if you don't know (type your address into the search bar at the top - you have one state senator and one state representative). Click the link to their websites for their contact information. The more they hear about animal welfare they more they will pay attention to it.
For the bills discussed above that need only approval from the full Senate and the Governor, and that we support, the best thing you can do now is to contact your state senator and ask your senator to support the bill.
For the bills discussed above that are before the Joint Committee on Ways & Means, you can help by contacting your senator and your representative and asking them to support or oppose the bill (depending on whether we support or oppose the bill as indicated above). Those bills still need approval from the Ways & Means committee as well as both the full House and full Senate.
To get the most current information on the status of a bill, including whether the vote has already taken place, click the link in the bill number above.
We will also continue to let you know other strategic times to comment on pending legislation we consider most important.
Thank you for helping us advocate for animals!