This morning SB 250 was passed out of the Senate Local Government Committee on a party line 3 to 1 vote. Senator Aanestad was not present. Senator Cox provided the lone NO vote. He has been a reliable opponent of mandatory spay/neuter and we thank him for his continued opposition.
Senator Wolk expressed substantial reservations about the impact on working dogs and extracted a promise from Senator Florez to amend the bill to exempt working dogs. We thank Senator Wolk for her concern for working dogs, but we have our doubts about the approach she has taken.
Senator Kehoe also expressed substantial reservations. She asked for clarification of the actual impact of the spay/neuter law in Santa Cruz. NAIA will be involved in providing that analysis. She also expressed interest in Calgary and we will be working with CDOC to provide her with more information.
Chairwoman Wiggins rightly recognized that the bill is seriously flawed and forced Senator Florez to accept some amendments. Unfortunately those amendments do not in any way reduce the serious harm this bill will cause.
Although disappointing, the outcome was not surprising. Senator Florez is the Majority Leader and one of the most powerful members of the state legislature. As we discovered in the early days of AB 1634, the process is driven more by political horse trading than by the merits of the bill. Had the vote been on the merits of the bill, comments from the senators suggest it probably would have been defeated 3 to 1 or even 4 to nothing. Instead Senator Florez made several promises about future amendments and that was enough to get the Democrats to support their leader.
As bad as this bill is, and even with Senator Wiggins’s amendments it is very bad, we believe that we are better positioned than we were at the same point in the process with AB 1634. Several organizations that were just being formed at this time two years ago are well organized and experienced in the legislative process. Save Our Dogs is working closely with CDOC and NAIA. While we don’t agree on everything we have good working relationships with them. Together we form a much stronger opposition than we would separately. We would also like to acknowledge the AKC’s contribution. While AKC is not as active as they were on AB 1634, they have been helpful.
We estimate that opponents of SB 250 outnumbered supporters 10 to 1 at the hearing. For some reason the Committee chose not to acknowledge the public participation in any way. We are confident that the senators could readily see the overwhelming majority of “No on SB 250” buttons. For those of you who made the trip, our thanks and your presence mattered. All of us are volunteers and your encouragement, thanks, and good wishes help keep us going.