Animal abuse legislation moves forward

Monday, June 23, 2014

Earlier this month, I had a very proud moment. The animal abuse legislation I have been working on for more than two years passed the House with wide, bipartisan support.

As you may know, the bills are in a much different form than they were when I first introduced them. The original idea of creating a new registry for convicted animal abusers proved to be burdensome and costly. Working with my fellow legislators and members of the law enforcement community, we devised a better solution. Animal shelters will be able to use an existing database, the Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT), to prevent abusers from adopting more animals for at least five years after conviction or incarceration.

Once again, this is an example of government working as it should. My Republican colleague, Rep. Paul Muxlow (R-Brown City), sponsored one of the bills in the package, and more than 80 percent of the members of the House voted in favor of the bills. Putting aside our partisan differences, we worked together for the good of all Michigan citizens — and their animals.

Our work is not done. The bills need to receive a vote in the Senate and the governor’s signature. Although the Legislature is currently on its summer break, I vow to continue working to see these bills signed into law. I will keep you updated as the legislation progresses.