2019 Legislative Priorities

mardi gras1

Minnesota’s 91st Legislature ran from January 8 to May 20, with a special session on May 24. Below are Animal Humane Society’s legislative priorities that we'll continue to work on in 2020:

Gas chamber bill

HF 916 & SF 960

Prohibit the use of gas chambers for euthanasia of pet or companion animals in animal shelters.

  • Humane euthanasia must be free of pain, stress, and fear. The use of gas chambers doesn’t meet this standard so AHS doesn't use them.
  • Euthanasia by injection is widely accepted as more humane, safer for staff, and less expensive.
  • Prohibiting use of gas chambers in animal shelters sets a humane standard and increases public confidence in the good work shelters do.
  • 27 other states have passed similar bans.

Status: This bill wasn't given a committee hearing. It remains alive for the 2020 session.

Vet immunity

HF 1530 & SF 1517

Give Minnesota veterinarians immunity for animal cruelty reporting.

  • Immunity rules in several Minnesota statutes protect some mandated reporters — people who are required by law to report the mistreatment of others. For example, doctors are mandated reporters and must report the mistreatment of vulnerable adults or minors.
  • Under current law, veterinarians are mandated reporters, but they don't have immunity. If they report known or suspected inhumane treatment of animals, they could face a civil lawsuit. It makes sense to provide similar immunity and protection to veterinarians acting in good faith and in accordance with the law.

Status: This bill passed the Agriculture Policy committees in the House and Senate and was referred to the Judiciary committees. It remains alive for the 2020 session.

Orange cat

Animal cruelty

HF 1053 & SF 932

Increase criminal penalties for cruelty to pets or companion animals resulting in death or great bodily harm, which is a felony.

  • Minnesota's current punishment for felony-level cruelty to animals is up to two years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
  • This bill increases that penalty to up to eight years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine.

Status: This bill wasn't given a committee hearing. It remains alive for the 2020 session.

Companion Animal Board

HF 2024 & SF 1860

Establish the Minnesota Companion Animal Board.

  • Existing state agencies are focused on livestock for food and fiber production (Department of Agriculture), dangerous diseases with animals (Board of Animal Health), or wildlife issues (Department of Natural Resources). Companion animals have a different role in the lives of Minnesotans, with specific needs.
  • This bill establishes a Companion Animal Board (CAB) to represent the welfare needs of companion animals and provide the necessary expertise, skills, and knowledge for them.
  • Nine appointed board members will oversee broader perspectives of companion animal care, such as veterinary science, nonprofit shelter management, companion animal rescue, and community governance.

Status: The Companion Animal Board was introduced in the legislature for the first time this session. Co-authors have signed onto the bill, but it wasn't given a committee hearing. It remains alive for the 2020 session.

For caring, compassionate advice and resources to address all your animal concerns.

Contact the Pet Helpline