2020 Florida Legislative Session
The best way to show legislators that animal protection is an important issue is for animal advocates to communicate with their elected officials. Legislators do care what constituents (voters) think about issues. After all, elected officials generally want to be re-elected, and that means adequately addressing matters important to their constituents.
Please contact your state senator and state representative, let them know you are a constituent and ask them to support the bills described here (you may want to address only one bill or issue in each letter or phone call).
Are you confused by the legislative process? Click to learn How an Idea Becomes a Law.
The 2020 Legislative Session begins on January 14. March 13 is the last day of the Session.
Stop the retail trade in iguanas and tegus
Senate Bill 906, introduced by Senator Gary Farmer, and House Bill 1415, introduced by Representative Dan Daley, would add green iguanas and Argentine black and white tegus to Florida’s list of prohibited species, making it unlawful to sell, bring into the state, or possess the reptiles for personal use (current owners of tegus and iguanas would be allow to keep the animals).
Senate Bill 1414, introduced by Senator Debbie Mayfield, and House Bill 777, introduced by Representative Tommy Gregory, would also prohibit the breeding and sale of iguanas and tegus, among other provisions.
It is illegal to buy or sell Burmese pythons and Nile monitors as pets in Florida. It is time to also stop the breeding and sale of tegus and iguanas as pets in Florida.
Life after the laboratory
In 2018, the most recent year numbers are available, over 1,000 dogs and almost 400 cats were used for research and testing at facilities in Florida. When the research or testing is over, most animals are killed. House Bill 181, introduced by Representative Mike Grieco and co-sponsored by Representatives Joe Casello, Anna Eskamani, Margaret Good and Emily Slosberg, would require research facilities to offer these animals up for adoption to an animal rescue organization or animal shelter. Nine states have passed similar bills.
Dogs and cats used in laboratories deserve a chance at life after research and testing!
Cruel trade in shark fins
Senate Bill 680, introduced by Senators Travis Hutson and Joe Gruters, and House Bill 401, introduced by Representative Kristin Jacobs and many co-sponsors, would ban the import, export, and sale of shark fins in Florida. Millions of sharks are killed each year for their fins, an ingredient in shark fin soup. “Finning,” removing a shark’s fins and dumping the injured fish back into the ocean, is banned in Florida waters. But it is legal to sell shark fins in Florida, and a large number of imported shark fins enter the U.S. through Florida ports.
The killing of sharks for fins is cruel and threatens some species with extinction. The trade in shark fins is already banned in 12 states. It’s time for Florida to do the same!
Senate Bill 186, introduced by Senator Annette Taddeo, and House Bill 363, introduced by Representative Sam Killebrew, would protect animals and consumers by prohibiting the leasing of dogs and other pets.
Under these deceptive and predatory schemes, pet stores encourage customers to sign lease agreements, with total payments that often add up to more than twice the list price of the pet. If monthly payments are missed, the company has the right to take back the pet.
Declawing of cats
Senate Bill 48, introduced by Senator Lauren Book, would outlaw several types of declawing surgeries. The bill includes exceptions for medical purposes, such as disease, injury, or conditions that compromise the cat’s health.
Declawing commonly involves amputation of bones in the cat’s paws. Declawing is a cruel and unnecessary procedure that can result in lasting pain and behavioral problems.
Protecting animals in weather emergencies
Senate Bill 752, introduced by Senator Aaron Bean, and House Bill 705, introduced by Representatives Sam Killebrew and Jackie Toledo, would require each county in Florida to designate at least one emergency shelter where people can go with their pets.
The availability of pet-friendly shelters increases the likelihood that pet owners will evacuate to safety during a hurricane or other emergency.
Senate Bill 1044, introduced by Senator Jason Pizzo, and House Bill 621, introduced by Representatives Dan Daley and Scott Plakon, would require veterinary professionals to report visible signs of animal abuse to law enforcement or animal control.
The measure is named after a dog whose abuse was recognized by a veterinarian but never reported. Click here for more information about “Allie’s Law.”
Protect Florida’s plants and animals from extinction
Recent changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) weaken protections for threatened and endangered species. Senate Bill 1360, introduced by Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez, and House Bill 1067, introduced by Representative Adam Hattersley, would direct the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection to keep the ESA’s vital protections in place for plants and animals in Florida, regardless of new federal rules. The legislation would allow the commission and department to take climate changes into consideration when making assessments, but the commission and department would not be allowed to consider economic factors when deciding whether a species should be protected.
Decisions regarding whether a species should be listed as endangered or threatened should be made solely on science, without considering short-term economic costs.
Florida’s official state pet
Senate Bill 240, introduced by Senator Kevin Rader, and House Bill 1277, introduced by Representative Richard Stark, would designate shelter animals (“Any shelter animal that resides at or has been adopted from an animal shelter or an animal rescue organization”) as the official state pet.
You Can Help
Have you ever spoken to your state senator or state representative? Whether you meet in person or speak on the phone, you could urge your state legislators to support a specific proposal, or simply let them know how important the issue of animal protection is to you.
Click here to find your elected officials.
To win victories for animals, ARFF will need your help during the legislative session. Click here to be added to ARFF’s email list to receive legislative alerts and updates.
Animal Rights Foundation of Florida
PO Box 39352, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33339
Promoting respect and compassion for animals in Florida has been the mission of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida since 1989.
The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.