A New Legislative Session Begins

The Maryland General Assembly convenes on January 10, 2024 with some changes in legislative committee leadership and a few new faces. Our legislators and Governor Moore have been very supportive of legislation to improve the lives of animals in Maryland. After last year’s successful session where we passed six priority bills, Maryland Votes for Animals looks forward to working with the 2024 Maryland General Assembly – and you – to pass the bills on this year’s 2024 Humane Agenda!

dog, cat, animals
Photo by mariamza on Pixabay

2024 Humane Agenda

End the Cruelest Confinement Practices – Senator Lewis Young/Delegate Terrasa

This bill would ban the cruel confinement of egg-laying hens in battery cages, typically the size of a standard iPad, where a hen is unable to spread its wings. It would allow Maryland to align with the market by ensuring that these cages are prohibited for both the production and sale of eggs.

Incentivizing Pet-Friendly Housing – Delegate Stein

No family should have to choose between their pets and a home. This bill would require housing providers that accept certain state funds to allow renters to have pets. This would ease the shortage of affordable housing that allows families to keep their pets with them.

Traveling Animal Acts – Delegate Love

This bill would prohibit traveling acts from using bears, big cats, elephants, and non-human primates. While most of the large circuses have eliminated these animals from their shows, this bill would ensure that these animals are not used by other groups performing in our state.

End Unnecessary Animal Testing – Senator Kramer

This bill would end the use of animal testing where it isn’t required – such as household cleaners, paint, and food additives – and ensure stronger welfare standards on these animals until all testing has come to an end.

Spay/Neuter Fund – Delegates Lehman and Ruth/Senator Brooks

The Maryland Spay/Neuter Fund provides competitive grants to local governments and non-profit animal welfare organizations for free spay and neuter services to low-income Marylanders and colonies of feral cats. It is funded by fees paid by pet food companies that sell products in our state. This bill would raise the fees by a modest, set amount to ensure that funding is keeping up with inflation.

Stacking Felony Offenses – Senator West

This bill would correct an error in the state code to ensure that in cases where an individual is accused of animal cruelty to multiple animals that felony charges can be brought for each animal.

Avian Flu Protection – Delegate Allen

This bill would restrict private ownership of roosters for cockfighting, which is illegal in Maryland.

Funding for Bear Conflict Prevention – Budget

In 2023, the legislature updated the Black Bear Damage Restitution Fund to become a proactive tool to fund conflict avoidance between individuals and bears and opened the fund to residents and towns as well as farmers. Allocate dedicated wildlife funding, ideally at least $250,000, to this program.

Let your legislators know which animal issues matter to you! Sign up for Maryland Votes for Animals Action Alerts: https://voteanimals.org/sign-up-take-action/   

Join us for the Humane Lobby Day Webinar January 25th at 5:30 via Zoom. Stay tuned for details.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Support our work to improve the lives of animals in Maryland: https://voteanimals.org/donate/