Industry weighing in on bills in Colorado
The legislative session has caught the eye of a number of trade organizations this year. With a number of pieces of legislation centering on animal rights, the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association is among those monitoring bills.
SB 164 specifies the standard of care that each animal shelter and pet animal rescue is required to provide dogs and cats in its custody. The bill also requires that each animal shelter and pet animal rescue adopt out each dog and cat, return it to its owner, or transfer it to another rescue. This would apply only to animals exhibiting no sign of illness or injury that would preclude a good quality of life; those that demonstrate a willingness to interact socially with humans; and has not exhibited behavior that is likely to result in bodily injury or death to another animal or human.
SB104, which has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Local Government, would grant additional duties and powers to bureau of animal protection agents, including the authority to conduct investigations; to take possession of and impound any animal that the agent has probable cause to believe is a victim of cruelty to animals; and to take possession of and impound a dog if the agent has probable cause to believe the dog is dangerous.
According to State Veterinarian Dr. Keith Roehr, the bureau of animal protection agents are commissioned by the commissioner and can be employed by non-profit organizations. Emily Ibach, Colorado Farm Bureau director of public policy, state affairs, said CFB opposes the bill largely because animal protection agents are not always law enforcement agents.
“In other counties, like Douglas County, the animal agent designated is the Dumb Friends League and in other counties, it’s other humane society or Dumb Friends League-type groups,” she said. “In those cases, we’re concerned with giving some of these powers because they’re not necessarily trained in law enforcement or personal protection and they could be walking into dangerous situations.”
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The bill was amended in part and another amendment is expected from appropriations.
All of the major ag organizations in the state remain firmly opposed to the forced reintroduction of wolves. Ibach said that, in addition to the ballot initiative, SB20-121 addresses reintroduction as well as funding for losses and various other items. She said CFB would support some of the changes in the bill but, because it is still a reintroduction bill, they remain opposed based on their policy.
“There are some various tax issues on our tracker that we’re working through currently,” she said. “There was a conservation easement bill that has since died that we were opposed to. The marijuana off duty employee bill died last week and we were opposed to it as well. We expect a new bill to come in the next few weeks to eliminate preemption that we are working through with the bill sponsors.”
Currently, CFB has taken a support stance on HB20-1004, Assistance Landowner Wildfire Mitigation; HB20-1069, Add Water Well Inspectors Identify High Risk Wells; HB20-1072, Study Emerging Technologies for Water Management; HB20-1115, Sales Tax Exemption for Farm Fencing Material; HB20-1137 Broadband Grant Certification of Unserved Area Requirement; HB20-1159, State Engineer Confirm Existing Use Instream Flow; HB20-1170, Military and Surplus Military Vehicles on Roadways; HB20-1172, No Abandonment of Water Rights for Efficiencies; HB20-1178, Increase Speed Limit on Certain Rural Highways; HB20-1184, Sunset Colorado Seed Act; HB20-1211, Sunset Regulation of Egg Dealers; HB20-1213, Sunset Commodity Handler and Farm Products Acts; HB20-1224, Agricultural Products Overweight Motor Vehicle; SB20-002, Rural Economic Development Initiative Grant Program; SB20-024, Require Public Input on Water Demand Management Program; SB20-054, Rural Development Grant Program Creation; SB20-090, Limit Liability for Food Donations to Nonprofits; SB20-101, Investigation Process for Pesticide Applicators; SB20-115, Register Surplus Military Vehicle as Farm Vehicle; SB20-132, Surplus Military Vehicle Farm and Emergency Vehicle; SB20-135, Conservation Easement Working Group Proposals; SB20-155, Keep Presumption Noninjury Well on Divided Land; SB20-SJR003, Water Project Eligibility Lists; and SB20-SJR005, Support State of Colorado Comments Federal Hemp Rule, which was signed in late January.
Both Colorado Farm Bureau and Colorado Cattlemen’s Association oppose HB20-1117, Misbranding Nonmeat and Imported and Artificial Meat, which has been held over. ❖
— Gabel is an assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (970) 768-0024.
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