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Humane Society Legislative Fund of Kansas 2019 Legislative Report

The 2019 Kansas legislative session marked the fourth session for which HSLFKS was present and active. It was a successful session for Kansas companion animals. After reviewing over 754 bills that were introduced, our team was committed to reviewing each bill to determine its relevance to companion animal and general animal welfare. Ultimately, HSLFKS monitored nine bills related to sports wagering that would have required the reinstatement of greyhound arcing and four other bills related to animal protection.

We celebrate the defeat of the reinstatement of greyhound racing to our state and celebrate the statutory change regarding the adoption of FIV+ cats (now permissible!). Our organization helped guide the Kansas Department of Agriculture to the regulatory change. Click here to read the order.

In addition, our organization was present and offering testimony to the sports wagering bills, including testifying in the House Federal and State Affairs subcommittee and the Senate Federal and State Affairs subcommittee. Although sports wagering, and therefore greyhound racing, was not given a hearing or vote this session, we expect the issue to return in 2020.

For months, you - our advocates - and our staff have dedicated efforts to important animal welfare related bills. In every case, we believe our collective efforts have been critically important and effective. Many of the bills we defeated we expect to resurface, but our efforts will continue in the off-season to ensure they are defeated again next year.

Thank you to all of you who continue to help spread the word, volunteer and support our organization. We look forward to the countless opportunities we will have to help spearhead further efforts to improve policies, regulations and enforcement for our state’s four-legged friends. Our work going forward will continue to involve creating fundamental updates and changes to the many challenges issues that have remained unaddressed for years in Kansas- including puppy mill production, pet store sales, greyhound racing, cruelty and abuse regarding companion and exotic animals, and more. This means our work is not easy. But as our society becomes more sensitive to the suffering of animals and intolerant of cruelty, there are more openings for implementing humane approaches to pressing issues.

Read on for more details about the priority legislation from the 2019 legislative session (excluding sports wagering).

Good Bills

House Bill 2397, amending the definition of dangerous regulated animal and restricting proximity of such animals to members of the public, sponsored by the Committee on Federal and State Affairs. This bill would have added non-human primates and wolves to the list of dangerous regulated animals, prohibiting the private ownership of primates in the state. Ultimately, the bill did not advance.

House Bill 2206, changing bond and cost requirements for animals taken into custody under a violation of cruelty to animals, sponsored by the Committee on Judiciary. The bill would have required the bond, related to crime and cruelty to animals, to be filed in the county where the animal was seized rather than the county where the animal is being held. It would have also required the bond to be maintained and re-evaluated every 30 days as necessary to help cover the cost of animal care and treatment until disposition of the animal by a court or the care cost to be transferred to the entity responsible for paying the bill. All to help ensure the right entity is reimbursed for the cost of animal care. Ultimately, the bill died in committee and did not advance.

Bad Bills

Senate Bill 224, to enact the Kansas retail pet shop act, sponsored by the Committee on Assessment and Taxation. Petland - America's largest chain of puppy-selling stores – pushed legislation that would interfere with local control of pet sales in Kansas. Senate Bill 224 would have allowed Petland to evade responsibility for sourcing sick, injured and abused puppies from puppy mills while stripping localities of their ability to regulate pet store sales, manage animal shelter overpopulation, and protect consumer and animal health as they see fit. Ultimately, the bill did not advance.

Neutral Bills

House Bill 2243, exempting animal shelters from registration requirements as a charitable organization, sponsored by the Committee on Judiciary.

What's next?

The Kansas legislature will not reconvene for regular session until January 2020. Until then, we must work together to make animal welfare related legislation a non-partisan issue. And we need your help to do so.

We encourage you to make an appointment with your legislator in your district during the off-season, regardless of political affiliation or how they voted in the past. In a short meeting, you can communicate the importance of these issues, such as our opposition to greyhound racing, through the eyes of their constituent. As their constituent, you hold the power. You elect them into the office and they should respectfully represent your view and understand that you, and many Kansans, care deeply about companion animal protection in our state.

You can look up your legislator and their contact information here. Interested in learning more about how to be a citizen lobbyist? Please click here to learn more from our affiliate organization.

For any questions or if you need additional resources on what you can do to help, please e-mail info@hslfkansas.org.

Other Ways to Help

The HSLFKS is a registered 501(c)4 nonprofit, dependent on donations to continue our work. Our funding comes from individuals like you who consciously value animals and invest in a more compassionate future. Donations are not tax-deductible, but are critical to allow us to lobby on behalf of Kansas’ companion and exotic animals.

Your gift allows us to advance critical animal protection legislation through lobbying, research, local education and community outreach, and come one step closer to ending animal abuse in Kansas. You will help us to change laws and policies to protect countless animals in our state, advocate for their protection and foster respect for animal welfare in the state. Please click here to contribute.