SACRAMENTO — SB 1221, legislation authored by Senator Ted Lieu (D/28-Torrance) that would outlaw the use of dogs for hunting bears and bobcats in California, was heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, Aug 8.
The measure was placed on the "suspense file," where it will likely be dispensed with — one way or another — next Thursday, Aug.16, along with several hundred other pieces of legislation. Although it could feasibly still be heard anytime before the legislature adjourns Aug. 31.
"The Legislature makes rules so they can break them," warned Bill Gaines, President of California Outdoor Heritage Alliance, "so we're not out of the woods until midnight, Aug. 31, and we need to keep the pressure on."
He said pro-hunters and those concerned with dog ownership and use need to keep after the members of the Appropriations Committee and keep the pressure on. "We need to convince the members of the huge financial loss if the bill passes," Gaines said.
There have already been 36 California County Board of Supervisors who have written letters against passage of SB 1221, outlining their opposition and the impact they will feel should the bill pass. The cost will be a minimum of $400,000 in lost fees to the DFG, to say nothing of the lost revenue from motels, restaurant and local communities.
COHA'S Jason Rhines was at the hearing Aug. 8, and had this to say: "There were over 300 opponents of the bill lining the halls and who spoke in opposition, including Josh Brones, President of the California Houndsmen for Conservation, who provided key testimony in opposition of SB 1221."
If the bill does not come off of suspense Thursday, Aug. 16, the Legislature can still wave the rules to bring the bill up any time before the Legislature adjourns on Aug. 31.
It should also be noted that during the hearing, the Department of Finance estimated that SB 1221 would have a direct financial impact to state — including an expected loss of nearly $400,000 in annual revenue to the Department of Fish and Game resulting from the drop in hunting license and bear tag sales. These significant costs should help defeat SB 1221 in the Appropriations Committee.
Please contact each and every member of the Assembly Appropriations Committee and tell them to keep SB 1221 on the suspense file, and to not support it. All of their contact information can be found at apro.assembly.ca.gov/membersstaff