California Senate Bill 250 (Florez: Dogs and Cats: Spaying and Neutering) was sent to the suspense file this morning.
Bills were heard in sign-in order in the Assembly Appropriations Committee hearing. Chairman Kevin de Leon announced that there were 48 measures before the committee. Sixteen (16) of these measures were candidates for the suspense file.
The Committee on Appropriations placed SB250 on the suspense file for all bills having a fiscal impact in a single fiscal year exceeding $150,000. (The amount of fiscal impact may vary based on the budget year. Impact includes cost increases, revenue decreases, increases in the State’s appropriations subject to limitation resulting from increases in the State’s proceeds of taxes which would be restricted in their use, and reductions in the State’s appropriations limit.)
Chairman de Leon announced that "Senator Florez has waived his presentation. " He then continued by stating that "This bill is going to the suspense file. Those in support and opposition would each have two (2) witnesses only."
De Leon asked "Is there anyone here in support of SB250?" After no response, he stated "Seeing none, I will allow two witnesses to speak for the opposition."
Cathie Turner (CDOC) spoke at 9:56am. She spoke of loss of income to state. There are 1,621 specific dog events held by the American Kennel Club (which is just one of the organizations sanctioned events). She informed that she would provide a detailed breakdown of each community. AKC will assume, if the bill passes, that California is no longer interested in these events.
Next to speak for the opposition was Angie Niles (NAIA). She informed that there was a 24% increase in Los Angeles after the passage of their mandatory spay/neuter law. She presented charts showing the effects of SB250-types of ordinances and illustrating a steep decline in both licensing and revenue in years following such spay/neuter ordinances. For example, Santa Cruz per capital animal control budget is 74% higher than other areas. She closed by advising that it would be fiscally irresponsible to pass this bill.
De Leon then informed again that "SB250 goes to the suspense file and we will proceed from there."
There was a humorous comment by Assembly Member Calderon who stated that he thought there was "feline bias" in the bill. Then, he clearly stated that he "Hopes that legislators will STOP bringing these bills. They don't need the state to get involved or to intervene. This bill may be about euthanasia … but … this bill just doesn't die!!"
(chuckle by almost all present in the room)
Chair de Leon stated that Mr. Calderon has opened up flood gates.
AssemblyMember Davis agreed with his colleague and said that "Municipalities have put together policies within their own jurisdictions to deal with that. I have looked at these individuals who have written and read their letters. There is a huge pile of people who said NO and a very small pile of YES." He continued by stating that "It is clear to me that, in this policy, we need to have made some accommodations for some of the issues that have fiscal impact. When we look at some of these fiscal issues, I have gotten the message. We need to allow … in this case … for local governments to be responsible and do what is appropriate to their own jurisdiction."
De Leon closed by stating "The chapter and saga continues."
Note: Suspense items may/may not be addressed later in the legislative session. A bill may be taken off the suspense file and heard upon two days' notice published in the file.