Tomorrow, February 13, is the last day in the State of Washington for bills introduced to be voted out of their original chamber. AKC continues to monitor several bills impacting dog owners in Washington state. Below are the latest updates, along with contact information if you wish to comment on any of these measures.
AKC GR will continue to provide individual updates and alerts when necessary.
Bills in Washington State Legislature:
Bills AKC are supporting:
- House Bill 1012 – Addressing the response to extreme weather events.
Status: Passed out of the House of Representatives; recently heard in the Senate State Government and Elections Committee; awaiting a vote by the committee.
Summary: AKC strongly supports House Bill 1012. This bill would develop an “extreme weather grant program” to help localities and federally recognized native tribes offset the costs of assisting their communities during severe weather if they do not have the resources to help those who are “socially vulnerable”. These grants would help with the establishment and operation of “warming and cooling centers” and for transporting individuals considered socially vulnerable (including the elderly, those with disabilities, those without transportation, and lower income individuals) to the facilities. As part of this program, grants funding would be used for establishing facilities that are pet friendly.
What You Can Do: The bill sits before Senate State Government and Elections Committee. Those who wish to help, please contact state Senator Sam Hunt, chair of the committee, by email at Sam.Hunt@leg.wa.gov or phone (360) 786-7642 HERE to express your support.
- House Bill 1635 – Limiting liability arising from the use of trained police dogs.
Status: Passed unanimously out of the House of Representatives; scheduled for hearing on February 15 in Senate Law and Justice Committee.
Summary: AKC supports House Bill 1635. This bill would serve to develop model standards for the training and certification of canine teams to detect fentanyl. Further, beginning January 1, 2025, a state or local government, law enforcement agency, or any employee of a state or local government or law enforcement agency is immune from civil damages arising from the use of a canine to detect fentanyl if following proper rules and procedures.
What You Can Do: For those wanting to express support, you can do so HERE. After clicking the link, select “HB 1635” from the agenda item menu; then select “support” from dropdown menu and fill out your contact info. If you would like to write any additional information, you can do so in the “written testimony” box; if not, just simply write that you support the bill in the box.
Bills AKC are monitoring:
- Senate Bill 5788 – Concerning service animal training.
Status: Passed out of the state Senate; Referred to the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee.
Summary: This bill seeks to clarify both the rights of service animal trainers and establishes civil penalties for misrepresenting an animal as being a service animal in training. The proposal would also allow for places of public accommodation to post signs notifying the public the penalties for misrepresenting an animal as a service animal or a service animal in training.
What You Can Do: If you would like to comment on the bill, you can contact the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee by clicking here. If you are a constituent, be sure to mention that when contacting them (Click HERE to find out who your Representative is).
- House Bill 1961 – Concerning the civil forfeiture of animals seized for abuse or neglect.
Status: The bill has passed out of the House of Representatives and has been referred to the Senate Law & Justice Committee.
Summary: This bill would classify animal cruelty in the first degree as a level III offense and allow for greater judicial discretion in sentencing for those convicted; however, it does not change the definition of what constitutes animal cruelty in the first degree.
What You Can Do: For those wanting to comment, you can do so HERE. After clicking the link, select “HB 1961” from the agenda item menu, then select your position from the dropdown menu and fill out your contact info. If you would like to write any additional information, you can do so in the “written testimony” box; if not, just simply restate your position.
AKC Government Relations continues to monitor bills in Washington impacting dog owners and will provide updates. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.