Following a single bill through the legislative process in Pennsylvania can be confusing to say the least; but to have two identical bills move through both the House and Senate at the same time, and then be taken on and off the voting calendar, can make even a PA political geek’s head spin. Fortunately we have a few political geeks here at Humane PA and we’re going to try to break down the process as best we can. We have also included a link at the end so you can get the facts about how both of these bills will impact not only animals but also our environment. Ready? Okay, here goes, so pay close attention.
SB 644 is the Senate Bill. It has passed the full senate, first consideration in the House and then was re-committed to House Game and Fisheries Committee where it is expected to be amended and if passed will be voted by the PA House of Representatives. Therefore, you need to contact your state representative to ask them to OPPOSE SB 644. If it passes without amendment, it will go straight to the Governor and become law. If amended, it goes back to the Senate to be voted on concurrence and then on to the Governor.
HB 723 is the House Bill. On April 9, HB 723 passed the full PA House 101-100, so it goes to the Senate Game and Fish Committee. Once it passes the committee, it goes to the full PA Senate for a vote. Please contact your state senator to ask them to OPPOSE HB 723.
This bill as is being fast-tracked and is in response to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) proposing regulations to eliminate the importation and ownership of wild boars in canned hunts. The PGC proposal will aid in the reduction of future destruction of the habitat by feral hogs that escape too frequently from these hunting operations. SB 644 and companion House Bill, HB 723 will take jurisdiction (over wild boars when held in captivity) away from the PGC, which will then prevent the PGC from shutting down these risky canned hunting operations. Canned hunts are the number one source of escaped wild hogs that ravage our wild habitat! Please take a look here for more facts about the bills: Fact sheet: HB 723 and SB 644 to Deregulate Feral Pig Captive Hunts
We at Humane PA thank you all so much for your vigilance and willingness to help, especially when a bill is this confusing. PA legislators are commenting more and more on how well we are staying on top of this bill. It is a real testament to the dedication of the animal vote that our desire to help animals motivates us to navigate our way through the confusing legislative process in PA!
Learn more about the Path from Idea to Bill to Law in Pennsylvania
New York Times: When One Man’s Game Is Also a Marauding Pest