UPDATE ON COUGAR BILLS IN WASHINGTON
Courtesy of Lisa Wathne, HSUS NW Coordinator

(SeaWolf Note) Lisa Wathne and Will Anderson are to be commended on their efforts to defeat this series of Bills. Now, SeaWolf suggests that, since efforts to revitalise these repeal laws will occur each election season, activists in WA state should consider taking equal offensive action by launching localised, grassroots opposition to the legislators who sought to unconsitutionally reverse the will of the people... perhaps having to constantly defend and parry ongoing criticism of this sort will make these legislators less likely to "tow the pro-hounding line" in following sessions...

Great news - SHB 1012 did not make it out of the House Rules Committee by today’s deadline of 5 pm which means that this bill is DEAD!

SHB 1012 would have effectively overturned Initiative 655 by allowing the Fish and Wildlife Commission to reinstate bear baiting and hound hunting of bears and cougars in Washington state.

The defeat of SHB 1012 is THANKS TO ALL OF YOU who stayed on top of this issue and continued to communicate with your Representatives over the last few weeks to express your opposition to this bill. We have been told that it was these efforts that gave the legislators who opposed SHB 1012 the support they needed to show in order to prevent the billl from getting out of Committee.

BUT .... please don’t abandon your e-mail yet! One anti-655 bill is still alive. SSB 5001, which passed the Senate on 2/12, can now be taken up by the House and if they choose to pursue this bill we will need to fight it with the same energy that was shown for SHB 1012.

BEARS, COUGARS, AND INITIATIVE 655 STILL UNDER FIRE

The House Natural Resources Committee has decided to hold a hearing on SSB 5001. The hearing will take place on WEDNESDAY, MARCH 31 and is scheduled for 10 AM.

I have had phone calls or e-mail messages this morning from three legislators who have been working tirelessly behind-the-scenes to kill the anti-655 bills. They all tell me that, in order to have any hope of killing this final bill, IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT FOR THE HEARING ROOM TO BE FILLED TO OVER-FLOWING on March 31.

PLEASE PLAN TO ATTEND THE HEARING ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 31. Please, do whatever you have to do to be in Olympia for this important hearing - take time off work, reschedule appointments, etc. This will be our final chance to speak publicly on behalf of bears, cougars and I-655.

It is important for you to attend the hearing even if you do not feel comfortable testifying before the Committee. We will provide buttons which state “THE VOTERS HAVE SPOKEN”. When Committee members and the media scan the audience at this hearing they MUST see a mass of these red buttons and therefore have NO DOUBT as to citizens’ strong opposition to the legisature’s continued efforts to undermine Initiative 655 and to put bear baiters and hound hunters back into the woods to terrorize our state’s bears and cougars.

Carpools to Olympia will be arranged from the NE 65th St. park-n-ride (Seattle) and Southcenter Mall (Tukwila). I will send details for these carpools in an upcoming e-mail.

Thank you for your continued concern and efforts on behalf of Washington’s bears and cougars.

Please let me know if you will be able to attend the hearing on March 31.

Lisa Wathne Field Representative, Washington State The Humane Society of the U.S. 206/367-0228 lwathne@ix.netcom.com


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