Mass. Legislative Scorecard 2019-2020 (sponsorship of bills)
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.
+ co-sponsored a bill for the animals
++ sponsored a bill for the animals
– co-sponsored a bill against the animals
– – sponsored a bill against the animals
blank the legislator did not cosponsor
Ivory/Rhino Horn Trafficking
Puppies/Kittens, Health & Safety
Pet Shop Ban
Sick Pet Remedy
Non-Animal Test Methods
Research Dog Adoption
Blue Hills Deer Hunt
Mass. Animal Fund
|Rep.||P. Frost||– –|
|Rep.||T. Golden, Jr.||+|
|Rep.||B. Jones, Jr.||+||+||+||++||+||+|
|Rep.||D. Nangle||– –|
|Rep.||W. Straus||– –|
|Rep.||A. Sullivan||– –|
|Rep.||D. Vieira||– –||+|
|Sen.||A. Gobi||++||– –|
|Sen.||D. Humason||+||– –|
EXPLANATION OF SCORECARD ACTIONS
EXPLANATION OF CO-SPONSORSHIP OF BILLS
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 2019-2020 session.
1. S. 496: An Act preventing the trafficking in ivory and rhino horns
This bill will clamp down on illegal ivory and rhino horn sales by limiting the sale, trade and distribution of these products within our state. It will ensure the Commonwealth doesn’t play a role in the unprecedented global poaching crisis by bringing Massachusetts law in line with federal regulations limiting the trade in ivory and rhino horn. Elephants are being killed at an unsustainable rate; 35,000 African elephants were slaughtered in 2012 alone to satisfy the ivory market – an average of 96 per day. Sponsors: Senator Lewis, Representative Ehrlich.
2. H. 1774, S. 114: An Act to protecting the health and safety of puppies and kittens in cities and towns
These bills have several provisions to protect consumers and animals from unsafe practices by: prohibiting the sale of puppies and kittens under eight weeks of age; ensuring regulations for certain kennels, such as boarding and breeding kennels; updating several laws about kennel licensing; and prohibiting the roadside sale of animals. Sponsors: Rep. Campbell, Senator Chandler
3. H. 1822, S. 989: An Act enhancing the issuance of citations for cruel conditions for animals
These bills expand upon current law, found in Ch. 140 sec. 174E, that allows citations to be issued when dogs are kept in cruel conditions. This legislation extends this protection to all domestic animals and also updates language to ensure that dogs left outside and unattended are protected. Broadening the current statute’s scope in this way allows an effective response to problematic situations involving animals and prevents them from escalating. Sponsors: Senator Montigny, Representatives Puppolo
4. H. 800, S. 175: An Act banning the retail sale of cats and dogs in pet shops
These bills prohibit the sale of puppies, kittens, and rabbits in pet shops unless the animals come from shelters or rescue organizations. Typically, pet shops obtain animals from substandard breeding facilities, which results in consumers unknowingly purchasing sick or genetically-compromised pets. Massachusetts state records consistently document complaints from across the Commonwealth. State and federal records have also demonstrated that puppies from the worst “puppy mills” in the country have been sold to Massachusetts consumers via pet shops. Sponsors: Rep. Higgins, Senator O’Connor
5. H. 1823, S. 1204: An Act relating to the remedy for the sale of sick puppies and kittens
These bills provide fair and reasonable recourse in the event that an “unfit” puppy or kitten is sold to a consumer by improving the puppy and kitten “Lemon Law.” Families who discover they have purchased a sick puppy from a pet shop or breeder regularly spend money on veterinary bills and often choose to retain the puppy rather than return to the seller—because they are attached to the animal and/or are concerned about what will happen if he or she is returned. These bills enhance consumer protection by requiring a better remedy, including the option for reimbursement of some medical expenses.
6. H. 2934, S. 2028: An Act relative to the use of elephants, big cats, primates, and bears in traveling exhibits and shows
These bills prohibit the use of elephants, big cats, primates, and bears in traveling shows in Massachusetts. These shows—using dangerous animals—are not only detrimental to animal welfare, but also present a public safety risk. These traveling shows subject highly intelligent, social animals to coercive and abusive treatment and a life on the road where they are deprived of exercise, and the ability to express their most basic, natural behaviors. Sponsors: Representative Ehrlich, Representative Jones, Senator Tarr, Senator Welch
7. H. 1037, S. 595: An Act concerning the use of certain insurance underwriting guidelines pertaining to dogs harbored upon the insured property
This bill would prohibit Massachusetts homeowners insurance companies from discriminating or charging higher premiums for coverage based on breeds of dog. Sponsor: Senator Gobi; Representative Lewis
8. H. 823, S. 505: An Act concerning the use of animals in product testing
This bill would require the use of available test methods that avoid or reduce animal testing of products and ingredients. This important legislation compels manufacturers and their contract testing facilities to use test methods that replace, reduce, or refine the use of animals. Alternatives provide information of equivalent or superior quality and relevance to humans in comparison to animal tests. The bill applies to products such as cosmetics, household cleaners, and industrial chemicals, like those in paint; it does not apply to testing done for medical research, including testing of drugs or medical devices. Sponsors: Senator Montigny; Rep. Lewis
9. S. 2463: An Act protecting research animals
The legislation would facilitate a relationship between laboratories that use dogs and cats for research purposes and registered non-profit animal rescue organizations so that when the animals are no longer needed they can be placed up for public adoption. Sponsors: Rep. Dykema, Rep. Dubois; Senator Tarr.
10. H. 4131: An Act further regulating the enforcement of illegal hunting practices
This bill 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 country. They would also create an elevated penalty for chronic poachers who repeatedly violate the law. Sponsors: Senator Moore; Representatives Ferrante, Ehrlich
11. H. 757: An Act to study the health of the Blue Hills forest and ecology to inform long-term reservation management
The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) blames deer populations for forest decline in the Blue Hills. In 2015, DCR allowed a four-day deer hunt to reduce deer populations, and a second hunt took place in 2016, with the addition of bow hunting and more hunters. This bill would support a study and scientific survey of the Blue Hills Reservation to determine why forest health is declining. Sponsor: Representative Driscoll
12. Harmful Wildlife bills (Trapping legislation: H. 839, H. 781, H. 885, S. 479; Sunday hunting legislation: H. 887, H. 884, H. 782 S. 472, S. 487, S. 468)
A number of bills are filed each session that remove current restrictions on cruel body-gripping Conibear and leghold (sometimes called foot-hold traps) which are used to capture fur-bearing animals, such as beaver and coyote. These changes would effectively allow a return to the days of recreational trapping with these inhumane and indiscriminate devices, something that 64% of Massachusetts’ voters decried in 1996 when they voted in favor of a ballot initiative known as the Wildlife Protection Act. Sponsors: Rep. Frost, Rep. Nangle, Senator Gobi
A number of bills are filed each session that would allow for the removal of the statewide ban on Sunday hunting. 86% of Massachusetts’ residents want to maintain the ban on Sunday hunting while hunters represent just 1% of the Massachusetts population. Sunday hunting bills prioritize a small minority over an overwhelming majority of Massachusetts’ residents that do not hunt, yet enjoy non-consumptive uses of nature and wildlife. Sponsors: Sen. Humason, Sen. Gobi, Rep. Straus, Rep. Sullivan
A number of bills are filed each session that expand an already-archaic Massachusetts state law that permits spotlighting, a nighttime hunting practice that involves shining a bright light at a target animal to paralyze it. Most states ban spotlighting, but these bills expand the practice. Many states and hunting groups consider spotlighting unsporting because of the ease with which it allows hunters to kill an animal. It is also dangerous because hunters usually spotlight on a dark road and cannot easily see other passing cars or people who may be in the surrounding area and in harm’s way. Sponsors: Rep. Vieira, Sen. Gobi
13. Mass Animal Fund Amendments #85 and #938 in 2020 Budget
These budget amendments, filed by Representative Kafka in the House and Senator Welch in the Senate, allocate $100,000 to the Massachusetts Animal Fund (the Fund) to ensure Massachusetts animals receive needed services such as vaccinations and spay/neuter surgery. In 2012, the legislature established this Fund, which receives its primary income from donations on state income tax forms. However, this mechanism is not raising enough funds to meet the need. There is a waitlist of hundreds of animals across all counties, and many animals are going unserved, lacking critical health services. This amendment would help provide these services, benefiting animals, Massachusetts residents, and our communities. With the $100,000 line item for the Fund for FY19, the Fund was able to help an additional 712 animals from 169 municipalities across Massachusetts.
See 2017-2018 session page for additional information from that session on some of these bills that are re-files.