The 2023 session of the Oregon Legislature is more than half over. Numerous proposals died last week after failing to move forward before a key deadline. Several important bills stayed alive, including some good ones expected to come up for a vote soon before the full House of Representatives, making this a good time to contact your state representative. Keep reading for information on these proposals and what you can do, along with other updates on the legislative session so far.
House Bill 3213, the humane cosmetics bill, passed out of committee on the last possible day and should be up for a vote soon by the full House of Representatives. 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.
House Bill 3664 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, beavers can be killed without a permit or requirement to 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. Successful negotiatons with rural legislators and landowners resulted in this bill being passed out of committee unanimously. The full House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the bill Tuesday, April 11.
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. This bill is also scheduled for a vote by the full House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 11.
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 will be considered along with numberous other bills expected to require further expenditure of state funds.
Senate bills to address the harms of large confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), including harms to animal welfare, stayed alive. Senate Bill 85 and Senate Bil 398 were moved to the Senate Rules Committee, which doesn't have the same deadline as other committees, for further consideration. This followed three public hearings on SB 85 and proposed amendments that would put an eight-year moratorium on factory farms in Oregon.
House Bill 2915, which would shrink the market for puppy mills and other mass breeding operations by prohibiting the sale of dogs and cats at retail pet stores, was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee after passing the full House of Representatives. It needs approval from the committee and then the full Senate and the Governor to become law.
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.
Unfortunately, several bills we supported did not survive the legislative deadline. These include House Bill 3214, which would have banned the use of certain animals in traveling animal acts such as circuses. HB 3390, which would have banned fur sales in Oregon, also failed to survive the deadline.
At the same time, numerous bills we opposed also died, including several bills to resume sport hunting of cougars with dogs and a bill, HB 2185, to allow special taxing districts to raise money for killing wildlife deemed a threat to private property.
For a full list of the most significant bills we are tracking this session (out of total of more than 85 related in some way to animal welfare), 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.
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 (you have one senator and one representative). Click the link to their websites for contact information. The more they hear about animal welfare they more they will pay attention to it.
For the good bills discussed above and going to the full House of Representatives for a vote soon, please contact your state representative as soon as possible to let them know you support the bill. To get the most current information on the status of the bill, including whether the vote has already taken place, click on 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!