What a way to kick off the first week of the 2013-14 legislative session with an animal welfare bill moving out of committee!
The Cost of Care bill, HB 82 was voted out of the House Agricultural and Rural Affairs committee, and sent on to the House Appropriations Committee. The bill has had first and second consideration. It is expected to pass and move on to the full House for final passage, then move on to the Senate for consideration.
What exactly does this mean? When a bill is introduced, it has a Prime Sponsor (author of the Bill) and will have co-sponsors who support the bill from the start by putting their name on it. Once the bill is introduced in either the House or the Senate it is referred to the appropriate committee. Most animal welfare bills will be referred to Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Game and Fish, or Judiciary of the respective branch (House or Senate), depending upon whether the prime sponsor is a Senator or a Representative in the House.
This week the House of Representatives announced the committee assignments and chairs of each committee. Why is this important? The chair of each committee is vital because they decide what bills will be moved (voted on). Once a bill is referred to the appropriate committee, the committee must then decide (vote) to move the bill out of committee and on to the floor for consideration by the entire House. These votes in the committee often help shape what bills will have the support they need for passage in the full House or Senate.
Another animal welfare bill was introduced this week, HB 164 by PA State Rep. Todd Stephens, with overwhelming support of 52 co-sponsors! This bill will ban the possession of items used for illegal dog or cockfighting, such as knives, gaffes, etc. Please thank your Representative if they are a co-sponsor of the Stephens Animal Fighting Bill. You can find your Representative here.
Any bill that was introduced in the 2011-12 legislation session and was not enacted into law is now dead and must be reintroduced this session. We will keep you posted here and on our Facebook page with the latest news on any animal welfare bills introduced.