Legislators can co-sponsor new legislation at the beginning of the session. This spreadsheet is meant to assist you in learning a bit about your state legislators, through their sponsorship or co-sponsorship on select animal-related bills and amendments this year. We will add votes and other information once more actions occur in the legislature. The chart and explanation should be helpful; however, it does have limitations. It doesn’t reflect past actions a legislator may have taken to help or harm animals. It also is only using measurement we can measure — such as sponsor/co-sponsorship — which won’t give a clear indication on where a legislator stands on many issues or other actions he or she has taken.
We also were unable to include every helpful or harmful animal-related bill. Also, people in certain leadership positions rarely sponsor or co-sponsor bills. Therefore, as always, we encourage you to meet with your legislators (in either the State House or district office), write to them, and ask about positions on specific animal issues. If your legislators have been supportive of animal issues, please take a few minutes to thank them.
+ action for the animals
++ a legislator was a sponsor on a good bill
– action against the animals
– – a legislator was a sponsor on a bad bill
nv not voting
n/a not applicable (the legislator was not in office when the action occurred or was not on the committee that took the vote)
blank the legislator did not take any action (did not cosponsor, sign on to letter, etc.)
H. 712 Reporting of trapped animals
H. 1243 Animal seizures/abuse
Farm animal confinement
H. 1852 adequate care
H. 1874, S. 401 puppies/kittens
Illegal Hunting or wildlife compact (H. 1198, H. 658, S. 381)
S. 942 Abandonment
S. 952 dog laws
S. 1172 pets in disasters
S. 1626 Elephants/bullhook
Shark Fin Ban Cosponsorship
Sponsorship/co- of animal cruelty bill
Sunday Hunting (H. 702, H. 714 and H. 3963)
Trapping Bills (H. 703, H. 750, H. 1976, H. 721.)
Homeless animal fund – 2015 budget amend. April-May ’14
Bullhook ban Tourism Vote
Farm animal Confinement Bill Cmte Vote (Judiciary)
Tarr cruelty sign on letter
TRAPPING VOTE 1 (1999)
TRAPPING VOTE 2 (1999)
TRAPPING VOTE 3 (1999)
TRAPPING VOTE 4 (2000)
GREYHOUND VOTE – HOT WEATHER (2001)
GREYHOUND VOTE – SLOT MACHINES (2006)
GREYHOUND PROTECTION ACT Endorser (2008)
|Rep.||T. Calter, III||+||+||+||+||+||+||n/a||n/a||+||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Rep.||P. Frost||+||+||– –||– –||n/a||n/a||–||–||–||–||+||–|
|Rep.||A. Gobi||++||+||+||+||– –||– –||n/a||n/a||+||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||–|
|Rep.||T. Golden, Jr.||n/a||n/a||–||–||–||–||nv||+|
|Rep.||B. Jones, Jr.||+||+||n/a||n/a||+||–||–||–||–||+||–|
|Rep.||S. Kulik||– –||n/a||n/a||–||–||–||–||–||+|
|Rep.||H. Naughton, Jr.||+||n/a||n/a||–||–||–||–||+||nv|
|Rep.||W. Straus||– –||n/a||n/a||–||–||–||–||–||+|
|Rep.||T. Toomey, Jr.||+||+||+||+||+||+||n/a||n/a||+||+||+||+||+||+||–|
|Sen.||D. Humason, Jr.||+||–||n/a||n/a||+||–|
EXPLANATION OF SCORECARD ACTIONS
I. COSPONSORSHIP OF BILLS AND AMENDMENTS
Legislators can co-sponsor new legislation at the beginning of the session. If a bill is late-filed, they can also co-sponsor a bill at the time it is filed. The bills below were filed during the 2013-2014 session.
1. Reporting of trapped animals (H. 712)
This bill would require a person who traps beaver to report to MassWildlife. The intention of the bill is to track the numbers of beavers and other animals that are caught by trappers to better determine the statewide populations of those animals. There is also a desire to monitor the number of complaints about such species, the locations of such complaints, and the methods chosen to remedy them. It is important to gather this data. Sponsor: Rep. (now Senator) Anne Gobi
2. Cruelty/animal seizures (H. 1243)
This bill would make changes to the statute relating to the seizure of animals in connection with cruelty investigations, helping to ensure animals are not twice victimized by being held for long periods of time while the related cruelty case is pending. Sponsor: Linda Dean Campbell
3. Farm animal confinement (S. 741, H. 1456)
Two bills were filed to prohibit the confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs. A “+” vote is co-sponsorship of either one or both bills that addressed the issue of banning gestation crates, veal crates (and battery cages for hens). The bill was amended and its number changed to S. 2232 when it was released from the Judiciary Committee (see vote).
4. Veterinary care for animals (H. 1852)
This bill would clarify the existing animal cruelty laws and give specific express notice to animal owners and possessors that they have an obligation to provide their animals with veterinary care that is necessary to prevent or relieve their animals’ suffering. Sponsor: Representative Lou Kafka
5. Puppy and kitten protection (H. 1874, S. 401)
These bills would prevent the sale of dog or cat less than 8 weeks of age, provide a remedy for the sale of sick dogs and cats and regulate breeders (who keep 6 or more intact female dogs). Sponsors: Senator Karen Spilka and former Representative Kathi Reinstein
6. Illegal hunting/wildlife compact (H. 1198, H. 658, S. 381)
These bills would deter poaching, which is the illegal harming or killing of wildlife, by increasing penalties to bring them in line with other states around the county. They would also create an elevated penalty for chronic poachers who repeatedly violate the law. A “+” vote means that a legislators signed on as a co-sponsor for one or more of these bills. The bill was amended as S. 1948 and passed the Senate on 6/19/2014. Sponsors: Senator Michael Moore and former Representative Matt Beaton
7. Animal abandonment (S. 942)
This bill would require owners of rented properties to check them for abandoned animals within 3 days after tenants move out; if abandoned animals are found, owners must report to the animal control officer or other authorities. Sponsor: Senator James Eldridge
8. Enforcement of dog laws (S. 952)
This bill would allow MSPCA and Animal Rescue League of Boston law enforcement officers to enforce the provisions in the new Ch.140 sec 174E to be able to better protect dogs from cruel outdoor conditions. Sponsor: Senator Pat Jehlen
9. Protecting pets in disasters (S. 1172)
This bill would ensure that pets are incorporated into municipal and the state disaster plans. Sponsor: Senator Karen Spilka. This bill was signed into law on March 24, 2014.
10. Banning the use of the bullhook on traveling Elephants (S. 1626)
This bill would prohibit any person who houses, possesses or travels with elephants utilized in traveling shows from using any implement that would result in physical harm (such as a bullhook) or from keeping the elephants constantly restrained by chain or similar device. Sponsor: Senator Bob Hedlund
11. Shark fin trade ban (H. 3571, S. 372, H. 1520)
Several bills were filed relating to the protection of sharks. A legislator receiving an “+” signed on to one or more of these bills. Sponsors: Senator Jason Lewis, Representative Dave Nangle and Senator John Keenan. A new law (the bill became H. 4088) that prohibits the possession, trade, sale, offer for sale and distribution of shark fins was signed on July 24, 2014.
12. Animal cruelty (H. 3692, S. 1914, H. 1182)
Several bills were filed to address animal abuse. Legislators with a “+” sponsored or co-sponsored one or more of these bills. Sponsors: Representative Lou Kafka, Representative Bruce Ayers, Senator Bruce Tarr. S. 1914 became H. 4244, then H. 4328, then S. 2345 and was signed into law on August 20, 2014.
14. Trapping (H. 703, H. 750, H. 1976, H. 721)
Several bills were filed to remove some or all of the restrictions on body-gripping traps for animals. A legislator receiving an “–” signed on to one or more of these bills.
15. Homeless Animal Fund 2015 budget amendment (House & Senate)
Amendments were filed in both the House and Senate version of the 2015 budget that would remove indirect costs from the new state Homeless Animal Fund, thereby allowing more money to stay in the Fund to help animals. Senator Jehlen sponsored this amendment in the Senate (#73) and Representative Kafka sponsored it in the House (#972). The provision was included in the final budget.
Fund for Seized Abused Animals 2015 budget amendment (Senate)
This amendment (#108), filed by Senator William Brownsberger would have created a fund to care for animals seized in cruelty cases. It was not adopted to the Senate budget. Co-sponsors include Senators Candaras, Jehlen, Lewis, Tarr, DiDimenico and Barrett. Not included in grid.
Note: While not in the scorecard above, on June 19, 2014, the Senate took 3 votes on animal issues: banning the shark fin trade, protecting abandoned animals and increasing penalties for illegal hunting practices. All were unanimous.
II. COMMITTEE VOTES
These votes occurred in the Joint Committee in which the bill had a hearing. Often bills are released without a roll call vote and, sometimes when they are voted on, we are unable to get the breakdown of the votes per committee policy.
16. Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development Committee vote on elephant/bullhook bill (S. 1626)
This was a vote in this committee to give S. 1626 (an Act Relating to the Treatment of Elephants) a favorable report, but it failed. Only members of this committee were able to vote on this bill.
17. Judiciary Committee vote on the farm animal confinement bills (S. 741/H. 1456)
This was a vote in this committee to give S. 2232 (a revised version of the original bills) a favorable report, and it was released favorably with an amendment. Only members of this committee were able to vote on this bill. A “rr” means the legislators “reserved rights” and didn’t vote either way.
III. CRUELTY SIGN ON LETTER
18. PAWS sign on letter
On July 30, 2014, the day before the last day of the formal legislative session, Senator Bruce Tarr circulated a sign on letter to the Senate President and Speaker of the House urging action on the “PAWS” Act to address animal cruelty. The bill was signed by Governor Patrick on August 20, 2014.
IV. OLDER ACTIONS (pre-2013)
Many current legislators weren’t in office when these votes are taken, but about half still are. Since we have very few roll call votes, we decided that these past important votes are still useful.
19. Trapping – vote 1
This vote was to remove the restrictions on the body-gripping conibear trap that were passed in 1996 with Question 1. A “No” vote was a vote for the animals. This was a vote in the House of Representatives. (Approved 91-60, 11/10/1999, H. 4808)
20. Trapping – vote 2
This vote would have sent the bill that removed the restrictions on the body-gripping conibear trap back to the Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee. A “Yes” vote was a vote for the animals. This was a vote in the House of Representatives. (Rejected 81-70, 1/16/1999, H. 4884)
21. Trapping – vote 3
This vote was to engross the bill that removed the restrictions on the body-gripping conibear trap. A “No” vote was a vote for the animals. This was a vote in the House of Representatives. (Approved 89-64, 11/16/1999, H. 4884)
22. Trapping — vote 4
This vote was to concur with the Senate’s amendment to the House bill that would have allowed for the unrestricted use of traps. The Senate amendment would have allowed for the use of traps only in certain circumstances. A “Yes” vote was a vote for the animals. This was a vote in the House of Representatives. (Rejected 65-86, 3/8/2000, H. 4884)
23. Greyhound vote – hot weather racing
This vote was for an amendment to the racing bill to limit greyhound races in weather above 80 degrees or below 20 degrees. A “Yes” vote was a vote for the animals. This was a vote in the House of Representatives. (Rejected 95-42, 6/25/2001)
24. Greyhound vote – slot machines
A “-” vote indicates a legislator voted in favor of slot machines at the racetracks. A “+” vote indicates a legislator voted against this proposal. This was a vote in the House of Representatives. (Rejected 100-55, 4/5/2006, S. 2227)
25. Greyhound Protection Act – endorser
A “+” indicates the legislator endorsed the Greyhound Protection Act, the ballot question that passed with 56% of the vote. A “-” indicates the legislator was in office at the time, but did not sign on. (2008)
V. OTHER SCORECARDS/RATINGS
- To see the 2015/2016 scorecard, click here.
- To see the 2011/2012 scorecard, click here.
- To see the 2008/2009 scorecard, click here.
- To see the 2005/2006 scorecard, click here.