|Senator Ted Lieu (D-Redondo Beach) is pulling every trick he can to try and get SB 1221, the bill that outlaws the use of dogs to hunt bears, passed without adding amendments, which would send it back to the Senate with questionable results as to its survivability.
And yet he has said that he wants to take amendments to SB 1221 in a separate bill, without formally attaching it to SB 1221 by "double-joining" the two, which is the accepted practice in California politics.
The move by Lieu is "completely unprecedented" according to Bill Gaines, President of California Outdoor Heritage Alliance (COHA). "Any amendments to the language of SB 1221 should be included in SB 1221, not another bill, so that the State Senate gets the appropriate opportunity to consider the changes. Further, if the amendments are carried elsewhere, the true financial impact of the bill to the state cannot be truly evaluated by the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where the bill will be heard on Aug. 8. Having language spread across two separate bills – without at least formally double-joining them – is not only wrong, it’s unprecedented."
The amendments will reportedly be placed in another bill of Senator Lieu’s, SB 912, which is currently on another topic, but sitting idle. As of the time of this writing, SB 912 does not contain the amendment language.
The background of the "amendment bill" is that Lieu cut a deal with Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), Chair of the Committee of Water, Parks and Wildlife, to pass the bill out of Huffman’s committee in June.
Although what Lieu has introduced is being heralded by he and Huffman as a "compromise" between both sides of the issue, the new language was never vetted by COHA, the California Houndsmen for Conservation or any of the other organizations or interests who are opposed SB 1221.
Some of the amendments deal with depredation permits in an attempt to try and peel off opposition from beekeepers, cattlemen and other impacted industry. But they may have had the opposite effect. "Some industries that would be impacted by SB 1221 were only lukewarm in their opposition to the bill at first. But the new amendments would make the process for obtaining a depredation permit so time-consuming and problematic that it appears they have only heightened industry opposition," Gaines told WON. "I don’t believe any of the amendments were even looked at by any of the industry groups against SB 1221 - they certainly do not 'address their concerns'."
The amendments would supposedly "restore the ability of the Fish and Game Commission to reinstate hunting with hounds," but the process and requirements are so rigorous that doing so would be impossible. To comply with the wording, the Fish and Game Commission would have to jump through so many hurdles and requirements - including a CEQA document and an unprecedented 4/5ths vote requirement - that approval would not happen. In the meantime, hunting with hounds would remain shut down.
There's no question that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), an anti-hunting, animal-rights group that wrote the legislation for Lieu, is behind this, once again. Their goal to end all hunting in California would be substantially hampered if SB 1221 fails to become law.
HSUS is currently being sued for racketeering and conspiracy for allegedly planting a paid informant in an organization to further their goals.
Not only bear and bobcat hunting with hounds is at stake. The concept of bear hunting with hounds, where dogs scent a bear trail and pursue it until treed or brought to bay, is no different than a pointer, setter or other upland game dog scenting a pheasant, following the trail and pointing the bird. If SB 1221 passes, that would be the next step in HSUS's attempt to stop hunting in California.
The next stop for SB 1221 is the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which will hear the bill on August 8th, where it will hopefully go into the “suspense” file so its costs can be further evaluated. The DFG will lose a minimum of $400,000 annually in tags and license fees, to say nothing of the impact on communities that derive a good share of their revenue from hunters in motels, stores, restaurants, gas and the list goes on.
But with a $183 million dollar budget, HSUS is undoubtedly throwing big money around in "campaign contributions" to liberal-leaning legislators, who are all too ready to put more restrictions on California citizens.
The very thought of having wildlife management decisions taken away from the trained scientists and biologists in the Department of Fish and Game, and handed to Legislators who have no concept of what's going on in the real world of the outdoors, is scary. It's even worse that SB 1221 was introduced in the first place, and ludicrous that it passed the Senate Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife.
Next step? If reason and intelligence has a bearing, SB 1221 will fail to pass out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. If the lies and money of the Humane Society of the United States prevail, not only California sportsmen and women, but every citizen should be concerned about our out-of-control politicians. They already have this state in an ongoing downward spiral and it's quite possible we haven't even seen the bottom yet.