Current Legislation

2015-2016 Massachusetts Legislative Session

The new session started on January 7. The bill filing deadline was January 16th (bills can still be "late-filed" throughout the session). More than 5,000 bills were filed by the January deadline! As we learn more about new bills, we'll post them below under the support and oppose headers, so keep an eye on this page. Note that the any Docket numbers (HD and SD) will eventually change to bill numbers.

To get ongoing updates, join our Facebook page and Animal Action Team. Find out who represents you at www.wheredoivotema.com and more about the legislative process here.  

The federal government has convened the 114th Congress; you can read about pending federal legislation on our website.

 Bills we support:


S. 1072, H. 1865: An Act Protecting Abandoned Animals in Vacant Properties

This bill would require owners of rented or foreclosed properties to check them for abandoned animals within 3 days after tenants move out; if abandoned animals are found, it must be reported to the local animal control officer or other authorities. 

  • Sponsors: Senator James Eldridge, Representative Dave Rogers
  • Status: Sent to the Municipalities and Regional Government Committee
  • Read more

H. 1220: An Act Updating the Law Relating to Posting a Security for Seized Animals in Cruelty Cases
This bill would make changes to the statute that passed in 2002 regarding the seizure of animals in connection with cruelty investigations. The law now allows an authority that seizes an animal pursuant to applicable Massachusetts law for alleged cruelty or neglect to request the court to order a refundable security/bond to cover the costs of caring for the animal during the period of time the animal is held until the case is adjudicated. Animals are different than other seized property; animals must receive food, water, board, and often-extensive medical care from the authority that took possession of them as part of the arrest or seizure. The changes in this bill are designed to address those issues that have arisen in practice and have limited the effectiveness of this law. Additionally, since animal cruelty became a felony in 2004, some of the language is now outdated and would be fixed with this bill. 

  • Sponsor: Representative Linda Campbell
  • Status: Sent to the Judiciary Committee
  • Read more


S. 1103, H. 1826: An Act to Protect Puppies and Kittens  

This bill 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, regulate certain breeders, and ensure the sources pet shops receive puppies and kittens adhere to certain standards and don't have significant or repeat violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

  • Sponsors: Senator Spilka, Representative Bradley
  • Status: Sent to the Municipalities and Regional Government Committee
  • Read more


H. 1848: An Act to Ensure Adequate Care of Animals In Cities and Towns
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. Over 20 states have some provision in their statutes creating such a duty.

  • Sponsor: Representative Louis Kafka
  • Status: Sent to the Municipalities and Regional Government Committee
  • Read More 


S. 439, H. 1555: An Act to Ensure Continued Humane Animal Care and Support Family Farms in Massachusetts
This bill would 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; that means that standard veal crates and gestation crates for pregnant pigs would not be allowed in the Commonwealth.

  • Sponsors: Senator Jason Lewis, Senator Hedlund, Representative Dave Rogers
  • Status: H. 1555 sent to the Judiciary Committee; S. 439 sent to the Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Committee
  • Read More


S. 440, H. 1275: An Act Preventing the Trafficking in Ivory and Rhino Horns

This bill will clamp down on illegal ivory and rhino horn sales by prohibiting 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 prohibiting 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. Of the 5 remaining species of rhinos, 3 are classified as critically endangered. Rhino horns are more valuable than gold, procuring up to $65,000 a kilo. For this reason South Africa, home to over 90 percent of the world's rhino population, saw a record number of poaching in 2014.

  • Sponsors: Senator Jason Lewis, Representative Lori Ehrlich
  • Status: H. 1275 sent to the Judiciary Committee; S 440 sent to the Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Committee
  • Read more


S. 878, H. 1273: An Act Protecting the Health and Safety of Animals in Cars

This bill would give animal control officers, law enforcement officers and fire fighters specific authority to remove an animal, and cite the owner, when the conditions in a car are expected to threaten the health of the animal due to extreme heat or cold.

  • Sponsors: Rep. Lori Ehrlich, Senator Montigny
  • Status: Sent to the Judiciary Committee
  • Read more


S. 1085, H. 1866: An Act Strengthening the Enforcement of Certain Dog Laws

This bill would allow MSPCA and Animal Rescue League of Boston officers to enforce the provisions in the new Ch. 140 sec 174E to be able to better protect dogs.

  • Sponsors: Senator Patricia Jehlen, Representative Dave Rogers
  • Status: Sent to the Municipalities and Regional Government Committee
  • Read more

S. 501: An Act Concerning the use of Certain Insurance Underwriting Guidelines Pertaining to Dogs Harbored upon the Insured Property
Would prohibit Massachusetts homeowners insurance companies from discriminating or charging higher premiums for coverage based on breeds of dog.

  • Sponsor: Senator Anne Gobi
  • Status: Sent to Financial Services Committee
  • Read more


S.  1801, H. 1274, H. 1477: An Act Relating to the Treatment of Elephants
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 or from keeping the elephants constantly restrained by chain or similar device. For example, the bullhook (or ankus) which is a club made of wood, metal, or other substantial material, with a sharp steel hook and metal poker at one end is commonly used to train an elephant.

  • Sponsors: Senator Robert Hedlund. Representative Lori Ehrlich, Representative Brian Mannal
  • Status: H. 1274 & H. 1477 sent to the Judiciary Committee; S. 1801 sent to Tourism Committee
  • Read More


S. 446, H. 1479: An Act Enhancing the Enforcement of Illegal Hunting Practices
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. 

  • Sponsors: Senator Michael Moore, Representative Brian Mannal
  • Status: H. 1479 sent to Judiciary Committee; S. 446 sent to Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Committee


S. 413: An Act to Enhance the Management of Problem Wildlife

Past sessions have seen a lot of activity around the beaver trapping issue. There is one point that everyone seems to agree on: more data on animals trapped is needed. This bill would require that people who are granted permits to remedy wildlife conflicts report the outcome to MassWildlife so they can track the numbers of animals taken by trappers, statewide populations, complaints about species, locations of complaints, and the methods chosen to remedy them.

  • Sponsor: Senator Gobi
  • Status: Sent to Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Committee

 

 Bills we oppose:

H. 713: An Act to promote the care and well-being of livestock
This bill would create a board to "promote the care and well-being of livestock"; however, we have concerns that such a board could use factors set forth in the authorizing language to consistently vote against improved humane standards. Therefore, we oppose the bill as currently written.

  • Sponsors: Representative Kulik 
  • Status: Sent to Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Committee


TRAPPING:


H. 673:
An Act Relative to Beavers
  

This bill would would strike the entire Wildlife Protection Act (Ch. 131 sec. 80A) and would repeal all the restrictions on body-gripping traps. 

  • Sponsor: Representative Paul Frost
  • Status: Sent to Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Committee
  • Read more


S. 421: An Act Valuing Our Natural Resources

This bill would amend portions of the Wildlife Protection Act (Ch. 131 sec. 80A) to allow the state's Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, or its agents, to use restricted body-gripping traps for management of furbearing wildlife during their established seasons (currently, only box/cage traps are allowed for furbearers during the trapping season). 

  • Sponsors: Senator Anne Gobi
  • Status: Sent to Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Committee
  • Read more


S. 409: An Act to Protect Children and Adults from Wildlife 

This bill weakens trapping restrictions; it authorizes the Department of Public Health and municipal boards of health to issue emergency permits for trapping coyote, fox or fisher cats.

  • Sponsors: Senator Anne Gobi
  • Status: Sent to Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Committee
  • Read more


H. 722: An Act Relative to Beaver Dam Emergencies
Would transfer authority for emergency permit decisions from local agencies to the state's Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.


H. 709:
An Act Conserving Our Natural Resources
This bill would strike a portion of the Wildlife Protection Act (Ch. 131 sec. 80A) to allow various local, state, and federal agencies to use restricted conibear traps, and prohibited snares and other traps, for a variety of reasons throughout the year, as well as allow the state's Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, or its agents, to use these traps during the recreational trapping season.


SUNDAY HUNTING:

S. 415: An Act expanding the powers of the director of Fisheries and Wildlife
This bill would give the power to the director of Fisheries and Wildlife to allow bow hunting for deer on Sundays.

  • Sponsor: Senator Anne Gobi
  • Status: Sent to Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Committee
  • Read more

H. 672: An Act expanding the powers of the director of Fisheries and Wildlife
This bill would give the power to the director of Fisheries and Wildlife to allow Sunday Hunting.

  • Sponsor: Representative Paul Frost
  • Status: Sent to Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Committee
  • Read more


H. 762: An Act Authorizing the Use of Bow and Arrows for Sunday Hunting

This bill would allow bow hunting on Sundays.

S. 424: An ct Relative to hunting with bow and arrow
This bill would allow bow hunting on Sundays.

  • Sponsor: Senator Anne Gobi
  • Status: Sent to Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Committee
  • Read more

S. 429: An Act relative to Sunday Hunting
This bill would allow hunting on Sundays.

  • Sponsor: Senator Humason
  • Status: Sent to Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Committee
  • Read more

H. 3236: An Act relative to the repal of Sunday Hunting restrictions
This bill would allow hunting on Sundays.

  • Sponsor: Senator Humason
  • Status: Sent to Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Committee
  • Read more


H. 3239:
An Act relative to the repal of Sunday Hunting restrictions
This bill would allow hunting on Sundays.

  • Sponsor: Senator Humason
  • Status: Sent to Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Committee
  • Read more


OTHER:

S. 430: An Act Relative to the Hunting of Bear
This bill would effectively repeal the ban on unfair hunting practices against bears, including bear baiting and bear hounding. Hounding and baiting were banned in statute in 1996. Baiting had been prohibited by regulation prior to 1996. 

  • Sponsor: Senator Humason
  • Status: Sent to Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Committee
  • Read more