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ALERT: HB159, HB604, HB667, SB127, SB391

March 11, 2009

This is a special update on key bills and updated positions based on today’s developments…

HB 159 EXPAND CRUELTY TO ANIMALS : Park : CONDITIONAL SUPPORT
http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/_session.aspx?chamber=H&legtype=B&legno=%20159&year=09
HB 159 was heard in the Senate Conservation Committee today and passed unchanged with one “no pass” vote from Senator William Sharer (bill@williamsharer.com) who we should thank. His “no pass” vote was based on several concerns. Senators Phil Griego and Clinton Harden were excused (not in attendance) at the meeting. After the committee meeting we were able to meet with Senator Harden and he is in support of introducing our “performance and working animal protections” amendment in the Senate Judiciary Committee. That amendment replaces section (H) (7) currently written as:

H. The provisions of this section do not apply to:
(7) other commonly accepted activities not otherwise prohibited by law.

The replacement is:

H. The provisions of this section do not apply to:
(7) other commonly accepted activities not otherwise prohibited by law including husbandry, training and competition associated with use of animals in performance and working events or in activities including hunting, working, herding, guardianship, predator control and vermin control.

The purpose of the amendment is to provide a statewide framework preventing inconsistent and overly constraining or broad interpretation of “commonly accepted activities.” The specific items stated are NOT limiting language. When legislation states “including …” it is intended as examples and not restricted exclusively to those activities. A new open letter thanking Senator Harden for his support is in the open letters section of the blog.

HB 604 STATE GAME COMMISSION MEMBER ELECTIONS : Tripp : OPPOSE
http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/_session.aspx?chamber=H&legtype=B&legno=%20604&year=09
While not posted on the state website yet, we have learned that this bill died in the House Voters & Elections Committee.

HB 667 DANGEROUS DOG DEFINITIONS & PROSECUTION : Heaton : CONDITIONAL SUPPORT
http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/_session.aspx?chamber=H&legtype=B&legno=%20667&year=09
The House Judiciary Committee amended this bill to reduce the mandatory liability insurance requirement for dangerous dogs from $250,000 to $100,000. Recognizing that a dangerous dog is a dog that has already caused the unprovoked death of or a serious injury to a person or domestic animal, it is difficult to argue there should be NO strict liability requirement. Conditional support is based on continuing to support an amendment requiring a dangerous dog and their owner enroll “in a socialization and behavior program approved or offered by the animal control authority” similar to that required for a “potentially dangerous dog.” While there are other problems with the current law and it’s amendments, particularly related to a “potentially dangerous dog”, they are better addressed in the next legislative session after we have built a strong standing with the legislature, which is one of the primary objectives for this legislative session.

SB 127 CUSTODY & CARE OF MISTREATED ANIMALS : Wirth : OPPOSE UNTIL AMENDED
http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/_session.aspx?chamber=S&legtype=B&legno=%20127&year=09
Our position requesting removal of the animal indemnity language of this bill (sections C through F) is unchanged. This bill will be heard by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, March 11. More information on this bill is available at the current legislative update and open letter to the House Judiciary Committee.

SB 391 LANDOWNER TAKINGS OF CERTAIN ANIMALS : Sanchez : OPPOSE UNTIL AMENDED
http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/_session.aspx?chamber=S&legtype=B&legno=%20391&year=09
It is our understanding that Senate floor amendments were introduced that eliminate most concerns about this bill. Our position regarding this bill is unchanged until those amendments can be reviewed as they are not available on the state legislative website. More information on this bill is available at the current legislative update and open letter to the Senate.

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