Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Civitas Crowns “Bad Bill of the Year”

It is now official and SB 848 Sponsored by Sen. Charlie Albertson (D-Duplin), has been crowned this year's worst bill.

According to the Civitas press release more than 10,000 votes were cast throughout the tournament.

"The voters have spoken and declared SB 848 as this year’s worst bill of the year," said Civitas Institute Executive Director Francis De Luca. “SB 848 was able to defeat some really bad pieces of legislation on its way to the title, so it truly earned its victory.”

"SB 848 defeated two bills that would license pedorthists (SB 619) and dog breeders (SB 460), a bill that allows students to earn money for good grades (SB 100) and a bill that repeals the ban on collective bargaining (HB 750) on its way to the championship."

The weekly “Bad Bill of the Week” series will resume during the General Assembly short session beginning in May 2010 with next year’s tournament commencing after the legislative session comes to a close.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bad Bill of the Year Tournament

Out of nearly 3,000 bills introduced in the legislature this year, Civitas nominated SB460 among its 32 Bad Bills of the Year. Civitas described SB460 as follows:

"With the introduction of SB 460 by Sen. Don Davis (D-Greene), (Identical Bill HB 460 by Representatives Jeffus(D- Guilford); Dickson (D- Cumberland); Harrison (D- Guilford) yet another branch of the extremist animal rights movement has surfaced in North Carolina.

While current statute already outlaws animal cruelty, SB 460 would have a huge impact on anyone who owns pets, hunts or breeds dogs by inserting the state into the breeding of dogs. The bill would add a new licensure regime and impose fees on breeders while also threatening them with a $1,000 fine.

While adding to the regulatory power of the state this bill will also increase the size of the state bureaucracy by adding more taxpayer funded positions. According to Fiscal Research, those positions and other estimated expenses will cost taxpayers almost $250,000 the first year and more than $400,000 a year after the first year."

SB460 fought its way thru to the Elite Eight Tournament Round where it was felled by SB848, a bill to allow admission of illegal immigrants to public institutions of higher education - which as of this posting appears to be the Tournament Winner.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dog owners stop SB460 in Finance

SB#460 Commercial Dog Breeders stalled in House Finance on Monday, 8/10/09. The House is now adjourned and the bill cannot be heard until May 2010. The bill is stopped, although it is not dead. Committee Chair and bill supporter, Rep. Jennifer Weiss (D-Wake), called another bill to be heard out of order stalling in order to give proponents time to arrive. Although Sen. Davis stated to the press that “procedural problems” caused him to pull the bill from the committee calendar, the truth is that he, HSUS and bill supporters did not have the necessary votes to pass SB460.

The bill had been rapidly amended between Senate passage and committee hearing and a new Fiscal Note added. A major change was to relieve the state of responsibility and pass enforcement to county authorities. SB460 will not require AWS (Animal Welfare Services) to inspect commercial dog breeders; counties will have the sole responsibility to investigate violations related to commercial breeding operations and to take the appropriate enforcement actions authorized by law. It is expected that most investigations would come due to complaints about specific facilities.

Without including extreme budgets, such as Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Services with a budget of $4.7 million, the average county animal control functions on a budget of approximately $550,000 annually. To pass along an unfunded mandate to local animal control and counties who are already struggling with budgets is completely unreasonable.

SB460 can still return for consideration in May 2010. It is your responsibility to speak with your Representative and explain the many problems with this HSUS inspired legislation. This is the tip of the iceberg. The number of bills HSUS and animal rightist friends were able to introduce in this NCGA legislative session was nothing short of breathtaking. That is only a small part of the HSUS arsenal against dog owners and the animal agriculture industry.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Senate passes SB460 - who voted to restrict your rights?

NC SB460 Commercial Breeder Regulation passed the Senate by *one vote*. Next election, remember those Senators who supported this bill and voted to restrict your rights. Senators voting in favor of this bill did the bidding of out-of-state activists, not NC constituents. The majority of phone calls supporting SB460 are not from NC area codes.

3rd Reading vote on SB#460 on Wednesday, 08/05/09

IN FAVOR of SB#460 (23 votes)
Basnight, Blue, Boseman, Clodfelter, Dannelly, Davis, Dorsett, Foriest, Garrou, Graham, Hoyle, Hunt, Jenkins, Jones, Kinnaird, McKissick, Nesbitt, Purcell, Rand, Shaw, Soles, Stein, Vaughan.

AGAINST SB#460 (22 votes)
Albertson, Allran, Apodaca, Doug Berger, Phil Berger, Blake, Brown, Brunstetter, Clary, East, Forrester, Goodall, Goss, Hartsell, Jacumin, Preston, Rouzer, Rucho, Snow, Swindell, Tillman, Weinstein.

ABSENT: Atwater, Bingham

Not voting (but not excused) Queen

Paired Brock [N] & Stevens [Y] (so neither vote was counted)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Breeder Bill SB 460 passes 2nd reading

Version 3 of NC SB460 was pushed to the floor today by Rules Committee Chairman, Sen. Tony Rand (D-Bladen, Cumberland), for second reading. SB460 Revision 3 passed by a narrow vote of 24 - 22 and 3rd reading is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. The state's economic distress and pending tax increases apparently were not enough to dissuade those who voted in favor of regulating dog breeders based on an HSUS exploited dog kennel crisis.

A fourth version was posted to the bill's website after today's vote. This latest version calls for commercial kennels to use current animal shelter facility standards; provides for a publicly posted internet registry of licensed facilities; authorizes county animal control as enforcers; protocols for daily exercise and veterinary care are yet to be written.

Today's vote:

IN FAVOR OF SB#460 (24 votes)

Basnight, Blue, Boseman, Clodfelter, Dannelly, Davis, Dorsett, Foriest, Garrou, Graham, Hoyle, Hunt, Jenkins, Jones, Kinnaird, McKissick, Nesbitt, Purcell, Rand, Shaw, Soles, Stein, Vaughan, Weinstein

AGAINST SB#460 (22 votes)

Albertson, Apodaca, Doug Berger, Phil Berger, Blake, Brock, Brown, Brunstetter, Clary, East, Forrester, Goodall, Goss, Hartsell, Jacumin, Preston, Queen, Rouzer, Rucho, Show, Swindell, and Tillman.

ABSENT: Allran, Atwater, Bingham, Stevens

Friday, July 24, 2009

FACT OF THE DAY: Fictitious Sales Tax Revenue

The fanatic supporters of SB460 are espousing a new claim that the licensing of commercial breeders will bring a sales tax revenue boon to North Carolina and offset the cost of enforcement by NCDA. This windfall of $720,000 in sales tax is based on the assumption that every one of the 15 females will be bred twice in one year and produce 5 puppies each litter. The estimate continues by using a multiplier of 200 licensed facilities.

This fuzzy math is problematic on several levels but the most glaring is that the Fiscal Note attached to SB460 plainly states that while there are at least 200 commercial breeders operating in North Carolina; of these, only 79 are known to have more than 15 female dogs.

200 high volume breeders do not equate to a state-wide crisis despite the hysterical opinions of HSUS and anti-breeder forces. Most certainly 79 kennels do not justify an expenditure in excess of $400,000 over the next few years during a budget crisis. This expense cannot be absorbed by NCDA and cannot be passed off to county animal control departments that are already understaffed and underfunded.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

SB 460 pulled from Senate Calendar

Senate Majority Leader, Tony Rand (D-Bladen, Cumberland), pulled SB 460 from today’s Calendar after it failed to reach a caucus consensus prior to the start of the Senate session. SB 460 was sent to the Rules Committee, possibly for more amendments.

SB 460 is now entitled the Puppy Mill Ban. IF this bill would pass, everyone who falls within the criteria for regulation will be marked as a potential puppy mill needing regulation.

There is no legal definition for the term "puppy mill." The term "puppy mill" was coined by animal rights activists to be used against anyone who breeds dogs, regardless of the care the animals receive. The name-calling is a means of turning the uninformed public against all dog breeders, gain sympathy and raise money for their constant barrage of animal rights propaganda. In 31 other states where HSUS has introduced their puppy mill bills this year, the number criteria changes. To crack down on alleged puppy mills in Maryland HSUS determined 10 was the magic number; Tennessee, Montana and others 20 was used as the beginning point for licensing; and in Illinois HSUS determined that only by licensing breeders beginning with 3 intact dogs could the state be saved from being overrun with puppy mills. Whatever is most convenient for HSUS seems to be the puppy mill definition of the moment.

There are laws to address abusive dog owners and breeders. SB 460 is not the answer. SB 460 is an unnecessary bill that is part of the radical HSUS agenda.

The NC Department of Agriculture is already understaffed and underfunded. They cannot afford this bill and neither can NC citizens. Tell your Senator to vote NO to SB 460.

Monday, July 6, 2009

SB460 scheduled for Senate floor vote July 8

SB460 moves to the Senate Floor for full vote on July 8, 2009. Call your Senators now and urge that they vote NO to this bill.

Promoted as a puppy mill bill with the usual emotional language, SB460 focuses on labeling dog breeders, i.e., commercial breeder=puppy mill to justify this over-the-top legislation. The term puppy mill is used by animal rights activists in the same manner as a racial slur to cast a negative picture on the whole industry of breeding dogs; the goal is to eventually make all the words interchangeable, commercial=puppy mill=dog breeder.

The cost to dog owners/breeders for construction of commercial grade facilities to meet state requirements will be enormous. It is irresponsible for legislators to force this expense on citizens who are already financially stressed in the current recession.

There are laws on the books right now that adequately address responsible animal husbandry management techniques without stressing the coffers to pay for unenforceable and unneeded regulation.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

State Senators: leave our dogs alone!

Sen. Don Davis (D-Greene, Pitt, Wayne Counties) is the sponsor on behalf of HSUS for SB460. Two billboards are now displayed in Senator Don Davis’ district. They went up last Thursday, one on Highway 70 in Goldsboro and one in Snow Hill close to the Greene County Courthouse.

SB460 is not based on facts or need; it is based on emotion and is part of a nationwide campaign by HSUS to pass restrictive legislation on dog breeders. This legislative campaign is about control, not about animal welfare. HSUS has a well documented history of opposing all purposeful breeding of dogs. SB 460 will punish countless responsible breeders unnecessarily. Senators, listen to NC dog breeders and not animal rightists!

Sen. Clark Jenkins strong arms SB460 through Senate Finance Committee

On Wednesday, July 1, Senate Finance Committee passed the controversial SB460 Commercial Dog Breeders bill on a voice vote, with more no votes than yes votes! How does a vote get derailed? Chairman Clark Jenkins (Dem-Senate District 3, Edgecombe, Martin, & Pitt counties) declared the “ayes have it” and closed the meeting. This procedural maneuver prevented any Senator from asking for a “division”, in which the votes would have been counted accurately.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Why you should oppose SB 460

SB 460 assumes that an owner of 15 or more dogs is not capable of managing and maintaining their animals in good health without state intervention. Numbers do not correlate to quality of care and it is wrong to use a numerical basis to begin excessive regulation of dog breeders.

SB 460 supporters claim the only reason to have 15 females is for mass producing puppies, i.e. continually breeding each female. NOT TRUE. The bill supporters are activists, NOT dog breeders and have no firsthand knowledge of what is necessary to build or maintain a breeding program. It is quite possible for someone to have 15 females without constantly producing puppies.

The requirement for annual veterinary certification of suitable health for breeding is not only vague but is unacceptable. Certification could require anything from routine physical exam to an expensive panel of blood tests and x-rays. There are no standardized, specific laboratory tests or specialized reproductive examination procedures that are suitable for assessing the health status of bitches for breeding. No other species has this pre-breeding regulation in place. This provision only serves to make breeding dogs more expensive and more complicated. The decision to breed or not breed a dog should remain at the discretion of the owner and not become a legislative mandate.

State licensing and regulation as a commercial entity will end dog breeding for anyone in a residential zoned area. The impact in rural-residential zoned areas will depend on the specifics written for each county and the final requirements for housing established by the NC Department of Agriculture.

The Fiscal Note on SB 460 has been provided by the Fiscal Research Division with input from NC DACS. The Department’s Animal Welfare Section estimates costs to implement a regulatory program are almost a half million dollars going forward with virtually no income. With a state budget shortfall in nearly of five billion dollars and government programs being cut, it is the height of irresponsibility to burden NCDA with this initiative.