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Send your VOICES & TWEETS to Columbus!

OHIO ANIMAL ACTION ALERT!

SB 331. “Dog Sales in Pet Stores”, IS EXPECTED TO HAVE AMENDMENTS AND TO BE VOTED ON and PASSED BY THE FULL HOUSE THIS WEEK!

Your VOICES & TWEETS are needed to STOP the passage of SB 331,”Dog Sales in Pet Stores”

Tuesday, December 4 – House Finance Committee hearing, possible amendments added

Some two hundred jurisdictions across the nation have passed ordinances, banning the sale of mill animals in pet stores.

Additionally, some twenty-one states have passed “Puppy Lemon Laws”.  These laws promote the humane treatment of animals and  protect unsuspecting consumers from purchasing unhealthy, unsocialized animals.

OHIO is headed in the OPPOSITE direction!

It appears that special interests and big business influence state law.  The chorus of “No More Big Government” is silent here.  State government is strong-arming Ohio voters by moving quickly to OVERTURN “home rule” in Toledo and Grove City and to prevent it from popping up in jurisdictions across the state.  

These bills are primarily an affront to our Ohio Constitution. Our Constitution has “home rule”.  “Home rule” intends to protect the wisdom of each community to know best what its own values are and to independently legislate in order to preserve those values.   

When Petland comes a-knocking, our state legislators open the door wide. The Statehouse ignores the state Constitution, the will of its voters, and the orderly progression of bills. 

The business interests of one company, Petland, are being promoted by the Ohio General Assembly over “home rule”, the will of the voters, consumer protections, and animal welfare. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Ohio, CALL your STATE REPRESENTATIVES and the HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE in opposition to SB 331.  Instructions and contact information follow below.  This bill is a runaway locomotive, … but that does not mean we should not try.
  • If you buy pet food, animal toys, pet shampoo, or pet products of any kind, thank you for only supporting those stores that advocate for our animal friends and the families that purchase them.  

SB 331, “Dog Sales in Pet Stores”, PASSED the Ohio Senate.  It aims to pass the House in the next couple of weeks.

Sponsor – Senator Bob Peterson (R), Cosponsors – Senators John Eklund (R) and Bill Seitz (R)

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-SB-331 (Read SB 331 here.)

Please RESPECTFULLY write or call the members of the House Finance committee.  It’s always better to tweak the script to make it fresh.  Calls require more effort of the office staff than e-mails; therefore, our calls make a stronger impression in Columbus. 

You might say, “Good morning, Chair Smith.  This is (your name) from (your city).  I strongly urge you to VOTE NO on SB 331, ‘Dog Sales in Pet Stores’.  

“I stand firmly against this bill for several reasons.  First, it was only introduced in the late spring.  SB 331 is being fast-tracked and has not been properly vetted.  

“Second, I am opposed to the state legislators stomping on ‘home rule’, embedded in the Ohio Constitution.   “Home rule” says local jurisdictions are in the best position to know what their community values are and to make their own ordinances.

“This is yet another example of ‘big government’ (132 state legislators) deciding what’s best for all and imposing laws which the local jurisdictions do not want.

“Third, state legislation should protect unsuspecting families from buying defective, unsocialized animals instead of opening the floodgates to sell more mill animals.

“Fourth, how do the wishes of one, Ohio business, Petland, override the wishes of the voters in Toledo, Grove City, and in jurisdictions across the state?

“Again, I urge you to VOTE NO on SB 331, ‘Dog Sales in Pet Stores’.”

House Finance Committee

Rep Ryan Smith (R), Chair  (614) 466-1366  rep93@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Scott Ryan (R), Vice Chair  (614) 466-1482  rep71@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Denise Driehaus (D), Ranking Minority Member  (614) 466-5786  rep31@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Marlene Anielski (R), (614) 644-6041  rep06@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Nickie J. Antonio (D), (614) 466-5921  rep13@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Kevin Boyce (D), (614) 466-5343 rep25@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Tony Burkley (R), (614) 644-5091  rep82@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Jack Cera (D), (614) 466-3735  rep96@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Kathleen Clyde (D), (614) 466-2004 rep75@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Robert Cupp (R),  (614) 466-9624  rep04@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Timothy Derickson (R),  (614) 644-5094  rep53@ohiohouse.gov

Rep John Patterson (D), (614) 466-1405  rep99@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Debbie Phillips (D), (614) 466-2158  rep94@ohiohouse.gov

Rep Barbara Sears (R), (614) 466-1731  rep47@ohiohouse.gov

Gerrymandering Blunts All Hopes

Disgraceful gerrymandering of Ohio districts blunts all hopes of the passage of our companion animal bills. Our congressional and state legislators are all in “safe districts”. Those comfortable districts have been carved out with laser precision by computers to assure a predetermined outcome on Election Day.

Efforts to control the district lines for political gain have been in effect since the beginning of our nation. Democrats and Republicans alike have used this technique to their advantage over the years. Patrick Henry opposed the Constitution. So, he attempted to draw district lines in a way that would cause James Madison, a prime author of the Constitution, to not be elected.

In the 1812, Elbridge Gerry, governor of Massachusetts, endorsed a redistricting plan to ensure his party’s domination. Some of the redrawn district lines were long and skinny, like a salamander. Thus, a combination of “Gerry” and “salamander” gave us the origin of Gerrymander, a partisan attempt at drawing district lines so that the party in control benefits politically.

Gerrymandering leads to serious consequences for the health of our democracy.  It is a root cause of  frustrating political inertia. The MAJORITY PARTY NOW CHOOSES THE VOTERS in advance. It both carves out large districts for itself and packs the minority party’s voters into a few districts.

Outcomes for the November election are decided in the spring primary.  In a designated Democratic district, for example, the winner of the Democrat primary will also be the winner in November.  The winner of the Republican primary has little chance of success in that Democratic district.

Legislators are so comfortable in their districts that they do not have to work across the aisle. This is what leads to extreme political positions and lack of progress on important issues.

In contrast, in a healthy democracy, the voters choose the legislators.  The legislators compromise by working across the aisle.  There is progress on important issues, like our companion animal bills.

                                            US Supreme Court Decision

Arizona voters wanted a fairer, less partisan system of the voter districts. So, in 2000, they made created an independent redistricting commission.

The Arizona commission has five members, two chosen by Republican lawmakers and two by Democratic lawmakers. The fifth member is chosen by the other four.

The Republican-led, Arizona state legislature sued. The legislators said the voters did not have the authority to take the power away from the legislators to draw district lines.

The Arizona case made its way all the way up to the US Supreme Court. In 2015, the Court ruled, 5 – 4, that Arizona voters could create an independent, redistricting commission.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony M. Kennedy, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were in the majority.

Justice Ginsburg wrote for the majority, “The animating principle of our Constitution is that the people themselves are the originating source of all the powers of government.”

“In so acting, Arizona voters sought to restore ‘the core principle of republican government’, namely, that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.”

Justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. were in the minority.

                                    What happens to Ohio, companion animal bills?

Our companion animal bills do not fair well year after year in the Statehouse. They have some activity in the House. Then, when they are assigned to the Senate Agriculture Committee, they meet failure. In the Senate, our bills generally languish and die in a two-year period without even a hearing.

In the last General Assembly we supported ten, companion animal bills. One bill was enacted. Nine bills died. SB 177, Domestic Violence and Pet Protection Orders, the one bill that passed, had been in the General Assemblies for eight, long years.

In Ohio, when the votes are cast, Republicans and Democrats win about the same number of votes. Yet, 75% of Ohio congressional legislators and 66% of state legislators are Republicans.

Gerrymandering is why we get so little response to our calls, visits, and e-mails.  Ohio legislators are all sitting comfortably in their political offices.  They do not have to work at compromise across the aisle to stay in office. The strength of the individual voice has been seriously compromised.

                                                            What you can do

VOTE YES on ISSUE 1 on your November ballot. Issue 1 is endorsed by the Ohio Democrats, the Ohio Republicans, the League of Women Voters, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, and many more organizations.

With a fairer, more representative redistricting plan in place, there will be hope again for the passage of our companion animal bills.  It is the way forward for our bills.