A huge "thank you!" to everyone who commented on House Bill 4080 - the bill to authorize "predator damage control districts" to raise money for killing wildlife deemed a threat to private property. Your comments made a big difference. The House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources decided not to hear the bill before the deadline and the bill died - a big win for wildlife!
In other news from the legislative "short session," which ends March 7:
HB 4130, which would appropriate money to wildlife highway crossings, was approved February 7 by the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources and referred to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, which reviews all measures requiring expenditure of state funds. The bill would allocate $7 million (after an amendment to increase the amount) to building structures that help wildlife cross highways safely. It would help both people and animals by reducing animal-vehicle collisions and by making it easier for wildlife to migrate throughout its habitat. Thanks to Representative Ken Helm of Beaverton for being the driving force behind this bill. We were proud to be part of the work group that helped bring it forward.
SB 1504, which would prohibit gambling on greyhound racing, was approved February 9 by the Senate Committee on Judiciary and is now in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. We support this bill because the gambling enables the racing, which leads to mistreatment of the dogs. Greyhound racing does not currently occur in Oregon, but gambling occurs here on greyhound races elsewhere. Thank you to outgoing Senate President Peter Courtney for making this bill part of his legacy.
HB 4127, which would have appropriated an additional $1 million to pay ranchers for claims of farm animals lost to wolves, died after failing to get a vote in the House Committee on Agriculture, Land Use and Water. While this fund has the potential to help increase non-lethal responses to wolf-ranching conflicts, it's subject to false claims and doesn't require ranchers receiving payments to refrain from seeking lethal action against wolves. Thus, we opposed allocating more money to the program without necessary reforms.
House Bill 4128, which includes a variety of measures to prevent spread of zoonotic disease in Oregon, passed the full House of Representatives February 9 and was approved February 15 by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Wildfire Recovery. It now heads to the full Senate, its last stop before going to the Governor for her approval to become law. Among other things, the bill would require study of whether possession of additional animal species should be prohibited. It would also prohibit the sale of live wildlife for human consumption. We are among the many supporters of this bill also.
For a complete list of the bills we are tracking and our positions on them, 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. You should feel free 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 already know (you have one senator and one representative). Click the link to their websites for contact information. We will also let you know of strategic times to comment on the pending legislation we consider most important.
Thank you for your interest in animal welfare!