2019 Legislation Update #7

Calendar for next few weeks: Note: these are primarily executive sessions (see end of post for description of what that means)

Room 303, LOB
1:30 p.m.
Executive session on
HB 283, relative to the age rabbits can be transferred;
HB 313, establishing a study committee on the authority and duties of the board of veterinary medicine;
HB 331, relative to the duties of a veterinarian;
HB 371, adding cats to the definition of commercial kennel;
HB 426, establishing a committee to study allowing town clerks to accept proof of certain exemptions from the rabies vaccine for the purpose of registering dogs.
Room 208, LOB
2:30 p.m.
Executive session on
HB 513, relative to allowing the use of therapy animals or facility dogs for therapeutic purposes in proceedings involving children or certain other persons;

Room 305, LOB
1:00 p.m.
Executive session on
HB 512, relative to dogs on hiking trails in state parks and state forests.

Room 302, LOB
10:00 a.m.
HB 389-FN, requiring the department of business and economic affairs to prepare materials for businesses relative to service dogs.
Room 305, LOB
10:00 a.m.
Executive session on
HB 296-FN, relative to animal waste cleanup in state forests and state parks;

What is an Executive Session? Committee deliberation and decision is done in executive session. A majority must be present in order to take action. The public may observe committees in executive session as they take their final vote on a bill.
A report is submitted to the Clerk of the Senate or House entitled “Ought to pass,” “Ought to pass as amended,” “Inexpedient to legislate,” “Refer to interim study,” or “Re-refer to Committee.” Re-refer to committee shall be a committee report only in the first year session; Refer to interim study shall be a committee report only in the second year session. This report reflects the majority decision of those at the committee deliberation.


2019 Legislation Update #6

Consent Calendar
HB 627relative to exceptions from certain pharmacy requirements for veterinarians. OUGHT TO PASS WITH AMENDMENT. Rep. Gary Merchant for Executive Departments and Administration. This bill, as amended, will allow the NH Board of Pharmacy flexibility to establish rules on compounding based on various national standards such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and federal regulations established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 
Vote 20-0.  
Regular Calendar:
HB 696-FNestablishing a protective order for vulnerable adults. OUGHT TO PASS WITH AMENDMENT.Rep. Lucy Weber for Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs. This bill establishes a procedure to enable vulnerable adults to seek temporary and permanent relief from abuse, exploitation and neglect. The bill is necessary because our criminal statutes do not provide adequate protection for vulnerable adults; by the time abuse, neglect or exploitation can be proven, assets are long gone, or the vulnerable adult has been subjected to unsafe conditions for far too long. In answer to concerns raised at the public hearing, the amendment clarifies that the defendant can be ordered to pay bills for the plaintiff only if the defendant has a legal or fiduciary responsibility to do so, and that the court may only issue orders about possession of animals owned by the plaintiff or owned by the plaintiff jointly with the defendant. The court may not include an animal owned solely by the defendant in its order. Finally, the amendment provides firearms may be removed from the defendant only after a specific judicial finding is made that such removal is necessary for the protection of the vulnerable adult. 
Vote 22-0

2019 Legislation Update #5

A lot has been happening since our last update. Please find details below, along with some related articles. 

Also, please continue to contact your Senators and Representatives to ensure they hear your thoughts and concerns on all of the bills this year. If you have questions on how to best do this, don’t hesitate to reach out. 
If you have any questions on a bill below, or one not listed, please let us know.

SB 77 -FN, relative to costs of care for animals seized in cruelty cases and prohibiting the future ownership of animals in certain animal cruelty cases.
Attached please find the latest version of the bill which they have added a return of unused bond if found innocent, but not a full refund. Also read the first two articles below as the recent Supreme Court ruling could have impacts on bills like this.

SB 161relative to the definition of pet vendor.
They moved amphibians, reptiles, fish, or small mammals to rulemaking, which lets the Dept of Ag determine threshold, but have done nothing to address the numbers for dogs, cats, or birds to a reasonable threshold. Dropping the current transfer number from 50 to 20 for dogs is a 60% decrease from current law and would label even the small-time breeder a Pet Vendor.

HB 501 -FNestablishing a cost of care fund to assist municipalities caring for animals during animal cruelty cases.
Retained in Committee.

HB 688 -FNrelative to transfer and inspection of animals.
No update at this time.

HB316 -FN, relative to the law governing training permits for the training of bird dogs and trail or tree hounds.
Voted Inexpedient to Legislate

HB 426establishing a committee to study allowing town clerks to accept proof of certain exemptions from the rabies vaccine for the purpose of registering dogs.
The hearing was Tuesday and was met with many in support, as well as many who opposed due to the study behind rabies titers not being complete.

HB 331relative to the duties of a veterinarian.
The hearing was Tuesday and similar to HB 426 as this also deals with rabies titers and vaccine dosage amounts.

HB 371adding cats to the definition of commercial kennel.
The hearing was Tuesday and was met with majority of support as the cat community would like to avoid being considered Pet Vendors in current definitions. With SB 161 removing the commercial kennel definition altogether, the topic was discussed briefly as well, and aside from HSUS many made it clear that a one-size-fits-all definition was not appropriate, including Rep. Flanagan who sponsored the bill.

HB 376establishing a commission to study best practices for companion animal groomers.
This hearing was Tuesday and the bill was opposed as written by most due to not including a professional groomer on the study commission. There were questions about if licensing groomers in NH is needed and a voluntary registration idea was raised. It seems the commission will be tasked with determining if this is needed, or if more education on best practices would be a good step.

Full list of bills

At this time only the following hearing is scheduled. Stay tuned for an update once the calendar comes out on Friday.

March 6 at 10:00am, LOB Room 302
House Commerce and Consumer Affairs
HB389: requiring the department of business and economic affairs to prepare materials for businesses relative to service dogs
This bill requires the availability, upon request, of the items below for businesses:
(a) A decal suitable for posting in a front window or door stating that service dogs are welcome and that misrepresentation of a dog as a service dog is violation of RSA 167-D:8.
(b) A brochure detailing permissible questions a business owner may ask in order to determine whether a dog is a service dog, proper answers to those questions, and guidelines defining behavior by the business owner that may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. Such brochure shall also contain language stating that persons who have asthma or are allergic to animals may also be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

2019 Legislation Update #4

SB77: relative to costs of care for animals seized in cruelty cases and prohibiting the future ownership of animals in certain animal cruelty cases.

Public in attendance: 40 in support, 10 opposed
This isn’t a horrible bill, but it needs some fine tuning of word selection, language to refund cost of care bonds if found innocent, first right of refusal for co-owners of animals who weren’t involved in cruelty, to name a few things that were raised in opposition. No vote completed at hearing.

SB161: relative to the definition of pet vendor

Public in attendance: 34 in support, 19 opposed
We need to do some work on this one, so stay tuned for next steps. But overall, I thought we did a great job explaining our concerns, including: unreasonable threshold to become a pet vendor, zoning concerns, public health concerns due to non-compliance and avoidance of detection, and trying to justify why responsible home-based breeders who breed for preservation, sport, etc., more often than not only dream about making a profit. No vote completed at hearing.

HB688: relative to transfer and inspection of animals

Public in attendance: 54 opposed, 2 in support
I think it was clear out of the gate that this bill is a mess, especially when presenting it Bixby had to explain all the amendments he was going to submit. We know he tried hard to get it right, but just went a little too far throughout the whole bill. The testimony given was superb and the committee seemed thoroughly invested in listening and understanding our concerns. We were able to repurpose a lot from SB161, but had to do a deeper dive in some areas, such as the lemon law, when to register, privacy concerns of database, etc. No vote completed at hearing.


Next steps coming soon!

2019 Legislation Update #3

NEWS IN: The hearing for SB161, the Pet Vendor bill, was just announced and will be heard Thursday morning at 9:30, following SB77, the Senate’s Cost of Care bill at 9am. Then at 1pm is the hearing for HB688. Come join us for a fun filled day at the State Capital!

 SB77: Feb 7 at 9am, SH Room 103(relative to costs of care for animals seized in cruelty cases and prohibiting the future ownership of animals in certain animal cruelty cases)

This bill adds a preliminary hearing within 14 days of the lawful seizure of animals, outlines that cost of care is to provide confiscated animals with humane care and adequate and necessary veterinary services. It also adds language to prevent ownership for varying lengths of time for those convicted of a misdemeanor, among other changes.


SB161: Feb 7 at 9:30am, SH Room 103

(relative to the definition of pet vendor)

This bill removes definition of commercial kennel and defines Pet Vendor as anyone who transfers 20 or more live animals or birds used as household pets (all non-livestock species), in a 12 month period.


HB688: Feb 7 at 1pm, LOB Room 301-303

(relative to transfer and inspection of animals)

This bill introduces the definition of Hobby Breeder and includes anyone who transfers 1-30 live animals or birds (all non-livestock species) in a 12 month period, requiring inspection and registration, with contact information of them and anyone receiving an animal to go into the proposed Animal Transfer Database.


Bill details: http://gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/Results.aspx?q=1&txtbillnumber=SB161,SB77,HB688&txtsessionyear=2019