It is the start of week three at the Legislature and it is full steam ahead. We are looking to build on our momentum as we testify for and against some important bills. We are working hard to protect Montana’s birds and other wildlife, and will provide you with updates through these action alerts and monthly eNews. We hope you will get involved with our efforts at the Capitol, and can help us out by making a phone call or by emailing your elected officials! You can also join us for either or both of two citizen lobby days, February 6th and March 13th, with locations TBD.
Thanks for the support,
Amy & Wyatt
Plastic Straw Bill
Single-use plastic is an epidemic in the United States; almost 125 busloads of straws are used each day, and 46,400 per year. Limiting the distribution of straws to consumers has been found to decrease the amount of straw consumption from 50% to 80%– which is exactly what this bill aims to do.
SB 120, sponsored by Sen. Sue Malek, would limit retail food establishments from providing single-use plastic straws unless requested by the consumer. This bill is a sensible step forward in reducing the estimated 500 million straws used daily in the United States.
The hearing for SB 120 is at 8:30 am Friday, Jan. 25 in room 422 of the state Capitol. Please let the Senate Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs committee know that you support this step forward and to VOTE YES on SB 120 to protect our environment from needless plastic waste.
Bill: Senate Bill 120 – An Act Limiting Retail Food Establishments to Distribution of Plastic Straws
Status: Up for Hearing in Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs
Montana Audubon Position – SUPPORT
Senate Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs
Not every animal makes a good pet
HB 227, sponsored by Rep. Forrest Mandeville, is a threat to our native wildlife and to public health. The bill would allow any person to own a wild animal (MCA 50-23-101) — a skunk, raccoon, bat, or fox — as long as the wild animal has been vaccinated congruent with a vaccination schedule created by the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), and is born in captivity.
Allowing private ownership of these species, and possibly others, is a dangerous prerogative. Skunks, raccoons, bats, and foxes are the four primary rabies vectors and most people choose to avoid these species because they have a predisposition to view them as rabies carriers; however, if these species are kept by private owners the important associations, such as this aversion, regarding respectful treatment of their wild counterparts, may be eroded.
Another problem, and the most significant issue with this bill, is that DPHHS would be the administrators of this new vaccination design schedule. DPHHS is not under the purview to be treating animals; let alone designing vaccination schedules. Even if the agency had the authority to design these schedules, there are no on-label vaccines for these wild animals.
These species should be left alone and not kept as pets. Not every animal makes a good pet, especially the four main vectors of rabies. Please attend the hearing and comment on HB 227 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24 in room 137 of the state Capitol. If you can’t attend, please call members of the House Agriculture committee and remind them that wild animals, particularly species known to be vectors of rabies, should not become pets – VOTE NO on HB 227.
Bill: House Bill 227- Remove restrictions on possession of certain animals as pets
Status: Up for Hearing in House Agriculture
Montana Audubon Position – OPPOSE