Current Legislation

2015-2016 Massachusetts Legislative Session

The new session started on January 7th! 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 Docket numbers (HD and SD) will change to bill numbers, likely sometime in February.

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:


SD 902, HD 1367: 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: filed
  • Read more

HD 347: 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 Additionally, since animal cruelty became a felony in 2004, some of the language is now outdated and would be fixed with this bill.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: filed
  • Read more


SD 974, HD 2126: 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: filed
  • Read more


HD 497: 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. the already existing parameters of the Massachusetts’ animal cruelty laws.

  • Sponsor: Representative Louis Kafka
  • Status: filed
  • Read More 


SD 466, HD 1371: 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: filed
  • Read More


SD 648, HD 1935: 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: filed
  • Read more


SD 1735, HD 1323: 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: filed
  • Read more


SD 1231, HD 1370: 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: filed
  • Read more

SD 982: 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: filed
  • Read more


SD 190, HD 1521, HD 1117: 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: filed
  • Read More


SD 447, HD 3146: 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: filed

 

 Bills we oppose:


HD 2063: 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: filed 


HD 1970:
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: filed


SD 1091: 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: filed


SD 931: 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: filed


SD 1099:
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: filed

HD 1959: 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: filed


HD 1872: An Act Authorizing the Use of Bow and Arrows for Sunday Hunting

This bill would allow bow hunting on Sundays.


HD 149
: 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.