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I’ll start off with a piece of good news, although unfortunately it has to be well cushioned with several cautionary tales.

The California State Senate voted 5-27 on AB 1634, which effectively killed its momentum, garnering even more “no” votes than even the most optimistic projections. A week later the bill was placed on the inactive file “with the permission of the author and Senator Dutton’s dog” (my Senator, who owns an intact show dog) This basically means the bill is dead. Levine gave up. The dogs and cats of California have a little less to fear.

That’s the good news.

Here’s the bad news.

1. This bill particularly highlighted the use of gut and amend as a legislative tool. I am calling upon you, my readers, to help do something about this. As we saw with AB 1634, when a bill is put through G&A it doesn’t go through the entire legislative process. Only a bill number goes through the whole process so G&A short-circuits things. While such a bill always faces concurrence, as we all know concurrence is usually all but a rubber stamping. When Levine threatened to G&A 1634 onto 2270, it was a wake-up call to all the opposition that had started to waver. Such a G&A would have effectively bypassed practically the entire process. This isn’t fair.

2. This bill also highlighted the power of moving the call, something else that needs to change. If a vote isn’t going well the legislator may “move the call” which means that the vote comes up later that day (when the appropriate arm-twisting has been administered in caucus). If moving the call were not allowed, then AB 1634 would have died a long time ago in the Assembly. Such a move would have saved Sacto a large amount of money from fax machines that would not have burned out and from the countless hours spent by staffers in recording the opposition to AB 1634.

3. But here is more good news. Organized grass-roots action CAN work IF the people know the procedure and know how to beat them at their own game. I was on a list that dealt with this bill and I am grateful that the group has learned so much in the past 18 months. We now have people who can write in legislative-speak who would have been panicked just a year prior. The list can dispassionately discuss “Oh AB 1634 was item 96 and Padilla said “do pass”” without anyone having to ask what that all meant.

It CAN work. To Diane Amble, Stormy Hope, Brat Zinsmaster, Geraldine Clarke, George Bell, Bill Henby, and dozens of others, congrats.

The battle is won, the war is not over. All over the country animal rights extremists are chipping away at Americans and their love of animal companionship. Please do not hesitate to contact me for help if such a bill shows up in your city, county, or state. Protect property rights and privacy rights, oppose the extremist agenda, protect your dog or cat!