THE EFFORT TO PASS THE GREYHOUND DECOUPLING BILL is well underway. This is Round Two on the bill that overwhelmingly passed both FL Senate and House of Representatives in the last session but was NOT pushed for a final vote before the session closed so despite the strong support, it did not succeed. BUT, we're back and we're determined that this will be The Year. Just to recap:
The Decoupling Bill will allow dog track owners to opt out of live racing -- this business is unprofitable at many tracks as well as widely unpopular (thanks to everyone who has vocally come out against dog racing and our numbers are growing...YAY). Leading the "push to pass" are, again, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the ASPCA and Grey2K USA, the advocacy organization whose goal is nothing less than the complete abolition of the institutionalized horror that is greyhound racing.
Bills have been introduced in both the FL Senate, SB 382 and in the FL House, HB 641, which are either identical or virtually identical to the bills that passed both bodies last year. The primary bill sponsors are also the same: the exceptional Representative Dana Young of District 57, Tampa, and in the Senate, the dedicated and hard-working State Senator Maria Sachs, District 30, parts of Broward & Palm Beach counties. The Florida Legislative session began on 10 January and lasts for 2 months. During this time those of us who can take the time will be in Tallahassee lobbying for these bills.
What can all concerned FL residents do? EMAIL AND CALL!
To get your State Senator's full contact information, use this site: http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find
and for your Representative's information, this site: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/representatives.aspx
then click on the FIND YOUR REPRESENTATIVE subhead, complete the required information which is street address, city and zip code. All Florida Legislators are at their Tallahassee offices through 9 March, so that's the best number to us. One phone call is worth dozens of emails...and it's easy to do. You most likely will not get the elected official but a staff member is just as good. Give your name & address, so they will know you are a constituent, and just say:
Please support HB 641 the Greyhound Bill (for your Representative) OR Please support SB 382 the Greyhound Bill (for your Senator), because this issue is very important to everyone concerned with animal welfare which is a GREAT proportion of your constituency. Thank them very much.
And that's it...last year I made 46 phone calls in less than 1/2 hour so this doesn't take a lot of time.
NOT a FL resident? You can still help.
In a very concrete way...yes...donations. It is enormously expensive to fund a full scale lobbying campaign and there is a paid, full time professional lobbyist hard at work now in Tallahassee. There are also printed materials that need to be furnished and other expenses...phone/fax/etc...it's a huge effort. If you'd like to help, here's the easiest way to do it: http://www.grey2kusa.org/give/donate.html
And the Grey2K USA site has all the updated information on racing, Action Alerts, and encouragingly, how the directed efforts of a small band of highly committed people are relentlessly chipping away at greyhound racing. Visit their facebook site as well for all the up to date FL Campaign information.
It was my honor to be asked to be one of the Florida Coordinators for this year's campaign. And now I'm asking for your help. Call, email, donate...and write or call me, Joyce Carta, 352-402-0412 email@example.com if you'd like to be part of the Lobbying Effort in Tallahassee. WE WILL GET THIS DONE THIS YEAR!!
Thank you. And, hug your greyhound(s)...they're all the lucky ones because their paths ultimately brought them to YOU.