Today’s Washington Post has a story about how animal issues have become high-profile, priority measures for this year’s Virginia legislature this session in Richmond. Michael Vick’s arrest and prosecution and the high-profile HSUS investigation into puppy mills have drawn enormous and unprecedented attention to animal issues in the state.
The Post story is a good opportunity to remind you that legislative sessions in 45 states are in progress or soon to be in progress, and we have remarkable opportunities to make legislative progress for animals. Last year, the states passed 86 new laws for animals—and that’s a number we hope to eclipse in 2008. But that will only happen if we redouble our personal investments in lobbying activities.
Please become a citizen lobbyist. Stay tuned to humanesociety.org/stateleg and find out what bills have been introduced. Then, contact your state lawmakers (there are 7,000 state legislators) and urge support for these measures. You can make your involvement easy by signing up for our action alerts at humanesociety.org/join. After taking action, you can write letters to the editor in support of these bills and try to recruit other animal-friendly citizens to contact their lawmakers.
You can also visit your state capitol to lobby your elected officials directly. To help you prepare, The HSUS hosts Lobby 101 trainings and Humane Lobby Day events across the country. Check our list of upcoming events to see when we’re coming to your state (we’ve organized Lobby Day events in 23 states on Feb. 13) and to RSVP.
I am listing below the start and adjournment dates for state legislative sessions. These bills will pass only if thousands of citizens get involved and demand change.