Category Archives: State Specific

Massachusetts Legislature Sends Boston’s BDL Law 969 “To Study”

The Massachusetts Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government sent Boston’s Senate Bill 969 (asking for allowance of pit bull regulation despite state law prohibiting it) “to study.” This means it is likely that the bill will make no further progress this legislative session.

Pit Bulletin Legal News attended the hearing on Bill 969 and testified against it. In preparation for the hearing, PBLN sent out an exhaustive Freedom of Information Act Request, which resulted in the production of two documents which showed overall bite counts went up after Boston began its breed discriminatory legislation. The only person who testified on behalf of the bill was the Director of Boston Animal Control. He provided no statistics, bite counts, or any data of any kind. His rational for supporting the law was so “we can get the bad guys.” The inference was that having pit bull regulation would give police probable cause to go after gang members and other criminal elements in the community. Sorry, but that’s not a legitimate legal reason.

Please contact both your state senator and state representative and ask them NOT to support S. 969. The bill, text below, would allow cities and towns to enact ineffective breed-discriminatory legislation, which focuses on preventing dog bites based on how certain dogs look, not how they act. Even though it was initiated by Boston, the bill would allow BDL anywhere in the state.

S. 969, An Act relative to Dangerous Dogs in Cities and Towns

SECTION 1. Subsection a of section 157 of chapter 140 of the General Laws, as appearing in section 31 of chapter 193 of the acts of 2012, is hereby amended by inserting in the first paragraph, after the world “dog”, in clause ii, the following:-

Unless municipal attack data indicates a specific breed may be deemed dangerous.

SECTION 2. Subsection c of section 157, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting in the last paragraph, after the word “breed”, the following:-

Unless a city or town deems a specific breed to be deemed dangerous through analysis of municipal attack data and by a majority vote of the city council with the approval of the mayor, in the case of a city with a Plan A, Plan B, or Plan F charter; by a majority vote of the city council, in the case of a city with a Plan C, Plan D, or Plan E charter; by a majority vote of the annual town meeting or a special meeting called for the purpose, in the case of a municipality with a town meeting form of government; or by a majority vote of the town council, in the case of a municipality with a town council form of government.

Advertisements

Rhode Island HB5671, the bill to outlaw breed discrimination passes full Senate

UPDATED:  7/16/2013:  The Governor has signed this bill into law. Rhode Island now prohibits breed discriminatory laws on the state level.

 

Rhode Island HB5671 was passed by the full Senate today with a vote of 21-6.

The bill has moved along very quickly after an initial stall out of the gate.  Introduced in late February, the bill was held for study by the House committee.  The House committee passed the bill on June 20th and in 13 days the bill moved from the first step to the last.

There was opposition to this bill from the legislators in municipalities that have breed discriminatory laws in place, as well as some legislators who were undecided and abstained from voting.

Most notably, legislators from Pawtucket have been in the news speaking out against the bill.  They expressed concerns that this bill would make their communities unsafe and had attempted to mount an e-mail campaign to oppose HB5671.  What this bill will do is make sure that all responsible citizens have their rights intact, and make municipalities address the real cause of dangerous dogs of any kind, reckless and negligent dog owners.  Officials have said in news accounts that, if passed, they will abide by the new law but it remains to be seen if they will comply willingly.

It does appear that the bill will not allow places with existing breed discriminatory laws to keep them.  According to sources, Pawtucket attempted to get grandfathered in during the Senate committee but was not successful.

The bill must be enrolled before it gets to the Governors desk.  After enrollment HB5671 will move to Governor Lincoln D. Chafee’s desk to be signed into law.

After being signed into law, Rhode Island will become the 16th state to outlaw breed discriminatory laws on the state level.

Please take a moment to reach out to the Governor to politely and briefly ask that he sign HB5671 into law.  Remember to put “Support HB5671” in the subject line so they topic may be easily accessed.

Governor Lincoln D. Chafee: governor@governor.ri.gov

Please also take a moment to write to the bills sponsor and co-sponsors and thank them for all the hard work they put into this bills passage.

Sponsor: Rep. Thomas Palangio:rep-palangio@rilin.state.ri.us

Co-sponsors:
Rep. Charlene Lima: rep-lima@rilin.state.ri.us
Rep. Anastasia Williams :rep-williams@rilin.state.ri.us
Rep. John DeSimone: rep-desimone@rilin.state.ri.us
Rep. Peter Palumbo :rep-palumbo@rilin.state.ri.us

Thank you Melissa and Dennis.

Rhode Island HB5671 assigned to committee

The Rhode Island bill to prohibit breed discriminatory laws on the state level has officially been assigned to committee.

Initial information was that the bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  A last-minute change, however, puts the bill in the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture.  This Committee will be meeting next on Monday July 1st, and it is very possible that HB5671 could be heard then.

When writing please put Support HB5671 in the subject line so legislators can see the support without having to read all of the e-mails.

There is opposition coming out of the places that have breed discriminatory laws, most notably Pawtucket,  so the more support offered, the better.  Officials from Pawtucket have done several interviews in opposition to the bill, and we can be sure they are also talking to legislators in opposition.  In the House vote those legislators who voted against this bill were from these areas.

The contact info for this committee is below:

Chairman: sen-sosnowski@rilin.state.ri.us

sen-archambault@rilin.state.ri.us
sen-bates@rilin.state.ri.us
sen-conley@rilin.state.ri.us
sen-coolrumsey@rilin.state.ri.us
sen-goldin@rilin.state.ri.us
sen-goodwin@rilin.state.ri.us
sen-kettle@rilin.state.ri.us
sen-walaska@rilin.state.ri.us

Rhode Island HB5671 to prohibit breed discriminatory laws advances to Senate

Today Rhode Island HB5671 passed the full House with a vote of 59-9.

The bill, which would prohibit any municipality from enacting a breed discriminatory law, was initially recommended to be held for further study by the House Committee.  The bill was held for over a month but was subsequently passed unanimously out of Committee. A little over a week later the bill passed the full House.

HB5671 now moves onto the Senate side, beginning with the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sources inside Rhode Island have stated that more support is needed to push this bill through the Senate.  The legislative session in Rhode Island ends soon.  Legislators have been tallying supportive e-mails so it is imperative that everyone reach out and express support for this bill.

Below is the contact information for the committee.  Please remember to use the cc or bcc function when copying the e-mail addresses.  Despite sources knowing a large number of people who wrote in support of this bill, many of the legislators have said they have not received a lot of correspondence about it.  E-mails with many addresses in the “to” line are usually bounced into spam boxes, so dividing the addresses is extremely important to making sure they are received by legislators.

When writing include “Support HB5671” in the subject line so that those who are going through the e-mails do not have to read the entire thing to know what it is about.  This will make any “at a glance” tallying easier and more effective.

Committee Chairman: sen-mccaffrey@rilin.state.ri.us

sen-archambault@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-conley@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-hodgson@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-jabour@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-lombardi@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-lynch@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-metts@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-nesselbush@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-raptakis@rilin.state.ri.us

New York A3952 to end discriminatory practises in insurance advances

UPDATE:  Unfortunately the New York legislative session has ended without any further action on this bill.  Hopefully with the advancement this bill saw at the end of this session, a similar bill will be brought forward in the near future.

Earlier this year a bill was introduced in the New York state legislature that would prohibit insurance companies from refusing coverage or renewal of a policy based on the breed or type of dog the applicant has.  Additionally this bill would also prohibit an insurance company from charging a different rate to a person because of the type of dog they own.

The bill text:

S 3421. HOMEOWNERS’ LIABILITY INSURANCE; DOGS. 1. WITH RESPECT TO HOMEOWNERS’ INSURANCE POLICIES AS DEFINED IN SECTION TWO THOUSAND  THREE HUNDRED  FIFTY-ONE  OF THIS CHAPTER, NO INSURER SHALL REFUSE TO ISSUE OR RENEW, CANCEL, OR CHARGE OR IMPOSE AN INCREASED PREMIUM OR RATE FOR SUCH POLICY OR CONTRACT BASED SOLELY UPON HARBORING OR OWNING ANY DOG OF A SPECIFIC BREED OR MIXTURE OF BREEDS.
2. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL NOT PROHIBIT AN INSURER FROM REFUSING TO ISSUE OR RENEW OR FROM CANCELING ANY SUCH CONTRACT OR POLICY, NOR FROM IMPOSING A REASONABLY INCREASED PREMIUM OR RATE FOR SUCH A POLICY OR CONTRACT BASED UPON THE DESIGNATION OF A DOG OF ANY BREED OR MIXTURE OF BREEDS AS A DANGEROUS DOG PURSUANT TO SECTION ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE OF THE AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS LAW, BASED ON  SOUND UNDERWRITING  AND ACTUARIAL PRINCIPLES REASONABLY RELATED TO ACTUAL OR ANTICIPATED LOSS EXPERIENCE SUBJECT TO THE APPLICABLE PROVISIONS  OF  SECTION THREE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE OF THIS ARTICLE.

After a rather long period on inactivity this bill is moving forward.  The bill has passed the full Assembly and has moved on to the Senate side of the legislature.

Bills of this kind can be very difficult to pass because of the prevalence of the insurance lobby in the legislature. There is often staunch opposition to them.  The fact that the bill made it this far with the amount of votes it received is promising.  The bill passed Assembly with a comfortable majority of 105-34.

However, it is incredibly important the New York residents step up and make their voice heard.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Insurance Committee.  Please reach out and ask them to pass this bill to allow all residents of the state to be able to get insurance.  This bill not only helps dog owners but also helps victims of dog bites, insuring that they receive some kind of compensation for an incident the requires medical care.

Contact information for the committee members:
Senator James Seward: seward@nysenate.gov
Senator Neil Breslin: breslin@senate.state.ny.us
Senator David Carlucci: carlucci@nysenate.gov
Senator Adriano Espailla: espailla@nysenate.gov
Senator John Flanagan: flanagan@nysenate.gov
Senator Martin Golden: golden@nysenate.gov
Senator Mark Grisanti: grisanti@nysenate.gov
Senator Timothy Kennedy: kennedy@nysenate.gov
Senator Andrew Lanza: lanza@senate.state.ny.us
Senator William Larkin: larkin@senate.state.ny.us
Senator Kenneth LaValle: lavalle@nysenate.gov
Senator Jack Martins: martins@nysenate.gov
Senator Ted O’Brein: obrien@nysenate.gov
Senator Thomas O’Mara: omara@nysenate.gov
Senator Kevin Parker: parker@senate.state.ny.us
Senator Jose Peralta: jperalta@nysenate.gov
Senator James Seward: seward@nysenate.gov
Senator Toby Ann Stavisky: stavisky@senate.state.ny.us
Senator David Valesky: valesky@nysenate.gov
Senator Catharine Young: cyoung@senate.state.ny.us

Rhode Island HB5671 advances to full House

The Rhode Island bill to prohibit breed discrimination on the state level has passed committee today.  It now moves on to a vote in the full House.

HB5671 will include language saying that “no city or town may enact, and rule, regulation or ordinance specific to any breed of dog or cat in the exercise of its power to further control or regulate dogs, cats or other animals as authorized by this chapter”  in both the section regulating vicious dogs and the general dog law section of state statutes.

The bill will take effect upon passage.  The language is very clear and simple, which is always a good thing in legislation.  The clearer the law the better it is for the citizens.

It is incredibly important to reach out and urge your legislators to support this bill because the legislative session ends on the 30th of June.

Rhode Island residents: Please reach out now and urge legislators to support this bill.  You can find your specific legislator here.  You must put your zip code into the search function on the top of the page.  Look for your Representatives and Senators to contact both so that they will know their constituents support HB5671.

Connecticut Governor signs HB6311 outlawing breed discrimination

Connecticut HB 6311 has been signed into law by the Governor and now becomes the 15th state to outlaw breed discrimination.

Like the recently passed Nevada Assembly Bill 110, Connecticut HB6311 has no home rule exemption or grandfather clause.  This was an easy sell because currently there are no municipalities in Connecticut known to have a breed discriminatory law.  Grandfather clauses are often added when a municipality has a law that they are fighting to keep, often lobbying against the law to prohibit breed discrimination.

It is also interesting to note that, also like the Nevada bill, HB6311 passed with a very small minority of dissenting votes.  There were only 4 votes against the bill’s passage in the Senate, the bill passed unanimously in the House.

This is not to say that passing these bills is a simple task.  There is a lot of educating that must be done to make law makers understand what breed discriminatory laws entail in cost to both municipalities and citizens. What this does point to is an increased willingness by law makers to address the issues that prevent municipalities from becoming the safe and humane communities they deserve to be.

Congratulations Connecticut!  We look forward to finding out who will be number 16 in the rapidly growing list of states that do not want breed discrimination.