Tag Archives: statewide

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

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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.

Connecticut HB6311 to prohibit breed discrimination moves to the Governor’s desk

This Thursday the Connecticut bill to out law breed discriminatory laws on the state level passed the full Senate with a vote of 30-4.  The bill now moves to the Governor to be signed into law. The bill must go to the House for concurrence first but this is usually a very simple matter especially since the bill was voted for unanimously.

If the Governor signs the bill, this will not only be the 15th state to out-law breed discriminatory laws but it would also be the second state this year to do so, following Nevada AB110 that was just signed into law.

If signed the bill would go into effect October 1st 2013. There is no home rule exemption in this bill and there is also no grandfather clause.  This means that any place with a discriminatory law in place would have to repeal it.

Connecticut residents: Please reach out to Governor Dannel P. Malloy and ask that he sign this bill, ensuring that the real causes of dangerous dogs are addressed at the municipal level.

You can e-mail the Governor via the states website.

Nevada AB 110 signed into law

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed AB110 and officially ushers Nevada into breed neutral status.  The bill goes into effect October 1, 2013.

AB110 includes a very short section that says “A local authority shall not adopt or enforce an ordinance or regulation that deems a dog dangerous or vicious based solely on the breed of the dog.”

It’s an elegantly simple provision. There is no home rule exemption and no grandfather clause.

The legislative path of AB 110 can be read about in full detail in our previous alert.  There is always a lot of hard work that is not seen when bills of this kind are passed, work that begins before the bill itself is even introduced.  For all the hard work of all those behind the scenes breed neutral Nevada thanks you.

One by one, prohibitions against breed discriminatory laws are becoming the norm as more legislators and citizens recognize the destruction breed discriminatory laws can cause.

Nevada AB 110 goes to the governor to be signed into law

Today is a great day for Nevada communities.  AB110, the bill to prohibit breed discriminatory laws on the state level, has passed the full Senate with a vote of 20-1.

AB110 was introduced February 13 and sat waiting for the first committee meeting until April 9th.  It was amended during the second reading and passed the full House on April 15th with a unanimous vote.

When the bill was sent to the Senate committee it hit a road block. According to Laura Handzel of Best Friends Animal Society, the primary opposition centered around 2 issues. The first issue was a general lack of knowledge about breed discriminatory laws and how they impact the community both personally and financially. The second issue was about home rule. Simply put home rule is an amendment in a state constitution that grants cities, municipalities, and counties the ability to pass laws to govern themselves as they see fit. Several legislators expressed concern over telling municipalities what kind of dangerous dog laws they cannot pass. There was a general concern stepping on the rights of cities and towns to self govern. Once explain that the bill would protect citizens from the towns overstepping their rights this issue resolved in a vote that shock advocates involved. Some dissension had been expected but ultimately the bill passed the committee with a unanimous vote.

And now AB110 has passed the full Senate with only one opposing vote.  This strong stand of almost complete agreement by all the Representatives and Senators is a wonderful thing to see. We know intellectually that support for breed discrimination is the small minority, but having such resounding legislative support shows concretely where the majority of people really stand on this issue.

The bill now moves to the Governors desk to be signed into law.

Nevada is the 14th state to enact this kind of protection for it’s citizens.

Congratulations to everyone involved in getting AB110 passed, for all the hard work put in to address the concerns of legislators.

Hearing set for Massachusetts S969, to allow breed discriminatory laws on the state level

At the end of 2012, the Massachusetts legislature passed a comprehensive animal control act.  This new law contained a clause in it that subverted all breed discriminatory laws in Massachusetts, making breed discrimination illegal on the state level.

Boston officials were extremely unhappy with this clause and as a result immediately filed S969 which would create an exemption in the state law prohibiting breed discriminatory laws.  The language of the bill states that a municipality would be able to institute breed discriminatory laws if

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.”

The bill sets forth no clear rules for what constitutes proof in regards to data collection methods or data analysis.  The bills backers seem to want people to take their word on what they deem to be a “dangerous breed.”

Despite claims from the bills backers that they have data that would allow Boston an exemption under the proposed changes, no such data has ever been provided to any constituents that have made the request to see this data.

Pit Bulletin Legal News drafted a Freedom of Information Act Request, which can be viewed here, in an attempt to access the information that officials were relying on to make the determination that Boston should be allowed to re-institute their breed discriminatory ordinance.

This bill has been set for a hearing date.  The Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government is set to hear this bill on June 4th.

Massachusetts residents: Reach out to the members of the committee and your legislators to offer opposition to S969. All members of the committee are listed below. You can find you specific representatives here.

Senator Sal DiDomenico: Phone: 617-722-1650 Email: Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov

Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz: Phone: 617-722-1673 Email: Sonia.Chang-Diaz@masenate.gov

Senator William Brownsberger: Phone: 617-722-1280 Email: William.Brownsberger@masenate.gov

Senator James Timilty: Phone: 617 722-1222 Email: James.Timilty@masenate.gov

Senator Barry Finegold: Phone: 617-722-1612 Email: Barry.Finegold@MASenate.gov

Senator Richard Ross: Phone: 617-722-1555 Email: Richard.Ross@masenate.gov

Rep. Sarah Peake: Phone: 617-722-2090 Email: Sarah.Peake@mahouse.gov

Rep. Gailanne Cariddi: Phone: 617-722-2450 Email: Gailanne.Cariddi@mahouse.gov

Rep. Thomas Stanley: Phone: 617-722-2230 Email: Thomas.Stanley@mahouse.gov

Rep. Sean Garballey: Phone: 617-722-2090 Email: Sean.Garballey@mahouse.gov

Rep. Rhonda Nymann: Phone: 617-722-2210 Email: Rhonda.Nyman@MAhouse.gov

Rep. Wayne Matewsky: Phone: 617-722-2090 Email: Wayne.Matewsky@mahouse.gov

Rep. Kevin Kuros: Phone: 617-722-2460 Email: Kevin.Kuros@mahouse.gov

Rep. Cleon Turner: Phone: 617-722-2090 Email: Cleon.Turner@mahouse.gov

Rep. Timothy Madden: Phone: 617-722-2810 Email: Timothy.Madden@mahouse.gov

Rep. David Rogers: Phone: 617-722-2400 Email: Dave.Rogers@mahouse.gov

Rep. Peter Durant: Phone: 617-722-2060 Email: Peter.Durant@mahouse.gov