February 14, 2020
Valentine’s Day might be a day about love, but the emotion felt by New Mexico animal advocates today was cautious hope that multiple pro-animal bills may cross the finish line in the 2020 state legislative session. In the final days of the session, there is a chance to pass into law measures impacting animals as wide-ranging as the endangered elephant across the world and the litter of kittens in your local animal shelter.
Yesterday, we celebrated Animal Protection Day, as nearly 100 people descended upon their legislators’ Capitol offices to lobby for Senate Bill 57, the affordable spay/neuter bill. When the morning began, our goal was to use our collective grassroots advocacy to urge a long-awaited hearing for the bill in the important Senate Finance Committee. Despite lots of work during the prior week, it was still unclear whether there was a path forward for the legislation. But a few hours later that day, as Animal Protection Day activists were visiting legislative offices, we were delighted to suddenly learn that Senate Bill 57 had been added to the Committee’s revised agenda for that afternoon! Everyone scrambled to make arrangements to stay late after Animal Protection Day activities were over, and at least 50 from our group attended the hearing. It was an incredible sight to see, when the Committee Chairman asked who in the room supports the bill, nearly every single hand shot up into the air. Spay/neuter advocates were there in force!
And after a strong presentation by bill sponsors Sen. Jacob Candelaria and Rep. Joanne Ferrary and a robust debate among the Senators sitting on that Committee, Senate Bill 57 passed by a bipartisan 7-4 vote! The next step for the bill is a vote by the full Senate—which is on the Senate floor calendar for tomorrow (Saturday)—before the bill can cross over and move through the legislative process in the House of Representatives. There is not much time left, so the bill will have to move quickly to, hopefully, pass before the end of the session. Now is the time to ensure your Senator and Representative hear from you—urge them to support Senate Bill 57 at www.saveNMpets.org as soon as possible.
Additionally, Senate Bill 75, the Wildlife Trafficking Act, has passed the Senate and is now moving through the House chamber. The bill will soon be heard by the House Judiciary Committee, after which the bill could progress to the full House for a final vote. If passed, the bill would make New Mexico the 11th state to pass a ban on illegal trade of exotic and endangered wildlife parts and products in order to bolster enforcement against these crimes. By playing our role in cracking down on the trafficking of items like elephant ivory, rhinoceros horns, and shark fins, international wildlife conservation will benefit greatly. Contact your Representative now and ask for their support for Senate Bill 75!
Several appropriation bills are in the hands of the Senate Finance Committee. including Senate Bill 125 ($500,000 appropriation to the Horse Shelter Rescue Fund) and Senate Bill 33 ($200,000 appropriation for a study of non-game wildlife species conservation funding sources). You can continue to track the bills’ progress on our website at www.apvnm.org/legislation. We are urging for the appropriation amounts to be included in the final budget passed by the State Legislature.
Upon the publication of this blog (late at night on Friday, February 14) there are just 5.5 days left in the 2020 state legislative session, concluding on February 20th at noon. The House and Senate are working hard to get through bills under their consideration, which means everyone is working over the weekend. And Animal Protection Voters will be there, too.
With your support, Animal Protection Voters will keep fighting, every minute possible, on behalf of animals and the people and families who love them. Love for the voiceless creatures we share our homes and our planet with. Selfless, generous, hopeful love. That’s the kind of love we think Valentine’s Day is about.