Maryland General Assembly Session Convenes on January 8, 2020 

Maryland Votes for Animals 2020 Legislative Preview

The 2020 Session opens with new leadership in the House under Speaker Adrienne Jones and the Senate under President Bill Ferguson. With changes in committee chairs, committee membership, as well as retirements and appointments, the 2020 Session will be characterized by new beginnings. Maryland Votes for Animals looks forward to working with the 2020 Maryland General Assembly – and you – to promote legislation that will enhance animal welfare in Maryland.

Our Priority Legislation:

Ban on Cosmetics Testing on Animals This bill would prevent companies from selling cosmetics that have been newly tested on animals. This legislation was introduced late last session but did not have enough time to progress. A similar law has passed in California, Nevada, and lllinois. Sponsored by Senator Clarence Lam.

Ban on Wildlife Killing Contests – This bill would prohibit the random killing of mammals in wildlife killing contests, where the sole purpose of the event is to kill the largest number of animals possible, often for cash or guns. The bodies of these animals are usually left or discarded, leaving their young to starve. Similar legislation has passed in New Mexico and Vermont in 2018, and California in 2014. New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Arizona are considering bills to make these cruel contests illegal. Sponsored by Delegate Dana Stein.

Required Training of Animal Control and Humane Society Officers – This bill would add uniform training and continuing education requirements for animal control and humane society officers. Currently, there is no training requirement in Maryland. While most agencies that handle animal control offer training for their animal control officers, it is not mandatory and varies by county.

Chlorpyrifos Ban in Maryland This bill would ban the use of Chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that harmful to birds, fish, bees, wildlife, humans, and the environment. Originally banned at the federal level by the Obama Administration in 2017, the ban was reversed before it went into effect by the Trump Administration. Last year, a bill to ban Chlorpyrifos in Maryland passed the House but stalled in the Senate. Hawaii and California recently banned the use of Chlorpyrifos and similar legislation is under consideration in Connecticut and Oregon. Sponsored by Delegate Dana Stein.

Additional Animal Bills – This list will continue to be updated as bills are introduced during the session:
Prohibition on Declawing Cats This bill would prohibit declawing of cats by veterinarians except in cases of a physical or medical condition that compromises the health or well-being of the cat. Last year, a similar bill passed in New York. Sponsored by Delegate Lorig Charkoudian

Extreme WeatherThis bill specifies the weather conditions under which dogs must be provided with a suitable shelter as defined in the bill. Many states and counties in Maryland have already passed comparable ordinances. 

Ban on Balloon Releases  This bill would ban balloon releases in Maryland placing a civil fine intentionally releasing balloons. Balloons are a hazard for marine species, birds, and other wildlife, who often mistake it for food. Similar legislation passed in Queen Anne’s County in 2019. Sponsored by Senator Clarence Lam, Delegate Regina Boyce, and Delegate Wayne Hartman. 

Pet CustodyCloses a loophole in Maryland law regarding the custody of animals during the time between a separation and a divorce.

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