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.
As you will see, some state legislatures have ended their sessions for the year, but there is still time to make a difference in those remaining.
BILLS WITH STATUS CHANGES SINCE 3/31/13 UPDATE
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 passed in the Senate, and was introduced in the House on April 10. Please continue to encourage your legislators to SUPPORT this bill!
HB 6311 would prohibit municipalities from passing breed specific ordinances. On April 1, the Committee Bill received a favorable vote. On April 17, the bill was referred to Office of Legislative Research and Office of Fiscal Analysis. The bill amends Section 7-148(D)(i) and would “Regulate and prohibit the going at large of dogs and other animals in the streets and public places of the municipality and prevent cruelty to animals and all inhuman sports, except that no municipality shall adopt breed-specific dog ordinances.” Please continue to encourage your legislators to SUPPORT this bill.
HB836/LD1192 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, and a Committee hearing is scheduled for Thursday, April 25, 2013 1:00 PM, in the Cross Building, Room 220. Please encourage legislators to SUPPORT this bill!
Lawmakers failed to reach a compromise on the bill that would overturn the Maryland Court of Appeals’ ruling finding pit bulls inherently dangerous. The General Assembly ended its session on April 8, 2013, with the House unable to compromise on who is liable for dog bites.
AB110 would prevent municipalities from passing breed specific ordinances. On April 12, the bill was placed on the General File for debate and vote. Please continue to encourage your legislators to SUPPORT this bill!
NO MOVEMENT SINCE 3/31/13 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. The Kentucky legislative session ended on March 26, with no action taken on these bills.
SB 296 would prevent insurance companies from discriminating against breeds. This bill was tabled by Senate Finance Committee.
HB1203 was originally intended to prohibit Maryland insurance companies from discriminating against breeds. The bill passed on the full House floor with a 137-0 vote, 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 basically legitimizes the use of breed specific guidelines by insurance companies.
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!
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!
HB 5287 and SB 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, 2013!
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. The West Virginia legislative session ended on April 13, with no action taken on 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.