Below you can find the status of several state level bills we are watching that impact dog owners across the country. If you live in one of the states where legislation is pending, please reach out to your legislators and encourage them to either support or oppose the pending bills.
Clicking on the highlighted link for each bill will take you to posts containing additional information about the bills, as well as contact information for legislators so you can make your voice heard.
HB 836 would prohibit the refusal to issue or the cancellation or nonrenewal of a property insurance policy, or an increase in the premium for the policy, based solely on the policyholder’s ownership of a certain breed of dog. The bills is currently in the Joint Committee on Insurance and Financial Services. Please encourage legislators to SUPPORT this bill!
SB226 would prevent or reduce the number of dogs shot by law enforcement officers by requiring training programs to prepare local law enforcement officers for encounters with dogs in the line of duty. The training would emphasize how to recognize common dog behaviors and how to employ nonlethal methods to control or respond to dogs. SB226 has been forwarded to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and a hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. Please encourage legislators to SUPPORT this bill!
BILLS WITH STATUS CHANGES SINCE 3/24/13 UPDATE
HB 6311 would prohibit municipalities from passing breed specific ordinances. The Joint Committee on Planning and Development voted to have the proposed bill drafted as a committee bill. Committee bills are fully drafted bills in formal statutory language based on proposed bills. The Committee Bill has been drafted and was referred back to the Joint Committee on Planning and Development on March 25. Please continue to encourage legislators to SUPPORT this bill.
SB160 would reverse the Maryland Court of Appeals ruling finding pit bulls to be inherently dangerous. A hearing was held on Senate Bill 160 (with the Senate amendment) in the House Judiciary Committee on March 27, 2013. The Judiciary Committee voted to pass the bill after the hearing, but it was stripped of the Senate’s amendments. It is anticipated that a conference committee will be appointed to work out a compromise on this very important bill. Please continue to encourage your respective legislators to SUPPORT SB160.
HB1203 was originally intended to prohibit Maryland insurance companites from discriminating against breeds. The bill passed on the full House floor with a 137-0 vote last week, but with some extremely significant amendments. Among the final amendments is a provision that simply states insurance companies that use breed-specific exclusions or guidelines are only required to give customers notice of those exclusions or guidelines. The original language prohibiting insurance companies from refusing to write a policy based on a homeowner’s breed of dog was completely stricken. The amended bill that left the House last week, and can be found here, basically legitimizes the use of breed specific guidelines by insurance companies, and is not a bill we should support.
NO MOVEMENT SINCE 3/24/13 UPDATE
HB15 and HB101 would help combat a Kentucky Supreme Court ruling and help Kentucky residents who rent their homes keep their pets. Both bills are currently before the Agriculture and Small Business Committee. Please encourage your legislators to SUPPORT these bills! The 2013 Kentucky legislative session ended on March 26, 2013, without the passage of these bills.
SB 296 would prevent insurance companies from discriminating against breeds. This bill was tabled by Senate Finance Committee.
S969/S1247 would allow cities to pass breed specific ordinances, reversing the provision of the animal control law that went into effect on October 2012. This bill is currently before the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government. Please reach out to your legislators and ask them to OPPOSE this bill!
AB110 would prevent municipalities from passing breed specific ordinances. A hearing was held in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on March 7, but no vote was taken due to differences not related to the breed specific provision. The bill’s sponsor indicated the groups will continue discussions in an effort to work out those differences. Please continue to encourage the members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee to SUPPORT this bill and move it forward!
HB63 would prevent municipalities from passing breed specific ordinances. This bill passed on the full House floor with a 48-14 vote. A hearing was then held on March 8 in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and was passed with a 6-1 vote. The bill moved to the Senate where it was not called up for a hearing. The 2013 New Mexico legislative session ended on March 16, 2013, without the passage of this bill.
SB2568 would prevent insurance companies from discriminating against breeds. This bill is currently before the Insurance Committee. Please encourage legislators to SUPPORT this bill!
AB3952 The New York Assembly Insurance Committee APPROVED Assembly Bill 3952, a bill that would prohibit insurance companies from canceling and/or raising the premiums of a homeowner’s liability insurance policy based on the ownership of a specific breed of dog. The bill has been referred to the Assembly Codes Committee. Please encourage the members of the Codes Committee to SUPPORT this bill!
HB5671 would prevent cities and towns in Rhode Island from “enacting regulations or ordinances specific to any particular breed of dog.” HB5671 is currently in the House Judiciary Committee where a hearing was scheduled for March 19, 2013. The hearing was postponed at the request of the sponsor. Please encourage the members of the House Judiciary Committee to SUPPORT this bill, and lets get it back on the hearing calendar!
House Bill 5287 and Senate Bill 178 would regulate the ownership of pit bulls at the state level. These bills were WITHDRAWN by their sponsors on Feb. 27 and Feb. 28!
HB621, as originally filed, was a poorly drafted bill that identified as “dangerous,” any dog with the “physical nature” capable of causing serious bodily injury or harm, thus requiring owners of such dogs to obtain liability insurance. On March 13, an amendment came to light that would automatically deem all pit bulls as vicious dogs. A hearing was scheduled on the bill on March 20. However, after only SIX days of strong opposition from Tennessee dog owners, Represenative Gilmore pulled HB621 from the hearing calendar, effectively killing the bill.
HB2794 and HB2301 would prevent insurance companies from discriminating against specific breeds of dogs. The bills are currently assigned to the House Banking and Insurance Committee. Please encourage your legislators to SUPPORT these bills!
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Residents of the states listed above, please make your voice heard. You have the opportunity to make positive change for responsible dog owners in your state! Please reach out to your legislators and ask them to take action on these bills.