As Florida’s governor signs or vetoes remaining 2022 bills, the American Kennel Club Government Relations team (AKC GR) thanks AKC club members, the hardworking members of the Florida Association of Kennel Clubs (FAKC), dog owners, sportsmen, allied organizations, and every individual who contacted their lawmakers about state legislation that affects our dogs.
Here are some legislative highlights from 2022:
SB 226 establishes funding for the care of retired law enforcement dogs. AKC GR supported this legislation, which was enacted on June 13 as Chapter No. 2022-188 and takes effect July 1, 2022.
SB 172/HB 227 were “lawyers for animals” bills that, among other provisions, sought to provide that in certain civil or criminal court proceedings, the court may appoint, upon its own initiative or upon request of a party, an advocate to represent the interests of the animal, whether living or dead. HB 227 was withdrawn by the sponsor. SB 172 was indefinitely postponed and withdrawn from consideration. Read more about this issue.
SB 420/HB 435 sought to increase penalties for certain crimes involving animals. House committee substitutes deleted a problematic definition of animal husbandry in response to concerns expressed by AKC GR and animal advocates. Both bills were indefinitely postponed and withdrawn from consideration.
SB 716/HB 307 sought to exempt records containing certain information pertaining to persons who have adopted an animal from a local animal shelter or animal control agency from public records requirements. AKC GR was concerned that this could have hidden pet trafficking under the guise of rescue from public oversight. Both bills were indefinitely postponed and withdrawn from consideration.
SB 994/HB 849 sought to regulate pet stores, expand requirements for animal shelters and rescues, and preempt certain restrictions on pet stores and breeders. AKC GR, FAKC, and other advocates worked to get exemptions added to SB 994 for breeders who do not sell at wholesale. The bill was ultimately withdrawn from consideration.
SB 1508/HB 1075 would have imposed significant limitations on tethering a dog, with certain exceptions. Both bills were indefinitely postponed and withdrawn from consideration. Read more about this issue.
SB 1750/HB 1061 sought to unreasonably expand the obligations of a pet vendor and certain breeders under Florida consumer protection law. The bills were indefinitely postponed and withdrawn from consideration. Read more about this issue.
Get Prepared for 2023!
Problematic bills will likely be redrafted later this year and refiled for the 2023 session. Take time now to meet with your state senator and representative in their home districts. Let them know that you, your AKC club, FAKC, and the AKC Government Relations Department are reliable and knowledgeable resources on dog issues.
2022 is an election year. Encourage fellow dog owners to register to vote. Get to know candidates for office, learn about their positions on animal issues, and support dog-friendly candidates for seats in the state legislature.
If you are not directly receiving AKC’s legislative alerts by email, click here to sign up. Learn about key issues affecting dogs and become familiar with AKC GR’s materials you can download and use.
By working together, we can support good legislation like SB 226 and oppose problematic bills, thereby protecting our rights to own, exhibit, breed, and enjoy the dogs we love.
For additional information, please contact AKC Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.