Illinois HB 1080 Would Allow Breed-Specific Legislation in the State of Illinois
March 18, 2011 update: According to HB 1080’s status page, HB 1080 has been kicked back down to the Rules Committee where its sponsor is most likely hoping for an assignment to a more amenable committee. We hope HB 1080 dies a well-deserved, dishonorable death in the Rules Committee because the bill and its sponsor stand for low-ball politics.
Please write the Rules Committee and politely ask them not to give in to Rep. Bradley’s attempt at an end-around of the democratic process. And yes, merely changing one word in a so-called “amendment” in order to get HB 1080 out of the Agriculture Committee where it didn’t stand a chance, and back to the Rules Committee where it is hoped that the bill will get an assignment to a committee that will pass it on to the House floor is an end-around of the democratic process. So is cancelling meeting after meeting where the bill is scheduled to be heard in committee in hopes of waiting out your opposition.
Agriculture & Conservation Committee Hearing
Mar 15, 2011, 1:00 p.m.
Stratton Building, Room 413
A couple of years ago when Illinois was considering breed-specific legislation (BSL) at the state level, week after week the meetings where the BSL was to be heard kept getting cancelled just like what is happening now with HB 1080. They were waiting everyone out because they knew most people couldn’t keep making the trip hundreds of miles from all over the state to committee meetings that kept getting cancelled. It was a subversion of the democratic process, just like what is happening now with HB 1080.
In this case, it looks like Bradley knows he clearly has no support for HB 1080 in the Agriculture Committee and so he has added some nonsense amendment (the “amendment” simply strikes out the word “the” and replaces it in some text about rabies vaccines) to the bill to try to kick it back to the Rules Committee hoping he gets a better committee assignment than Agriculture. I’m guessing the “amendment” is also why his office is misleading people telling them that HB 1080 doesn’t have a committee assignment yet when you call. Bradley is probably well aware that he has no support for the bill in the Ag Committee, but neither that, nor the fact that a majority of Illinoisans don’t want HB 1080 to pass, seems to be a deterrent for him. Usually that means there’s some special interest backing the bill from the shadows and that the bought-off “representative” has to earn his payola, er I mean, his “campaign contribution,” and pull out all the political dirty tricks to try to get the bill through.
HB 1080 has been assigned to the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee. You can track the bill here. Please send your polite letters opposing HB 1080 to the Illinois House Agriculture & Conservation Committee and let’s stay vigilant Illinois. This bill, if passed, will spell needless death for thousands of dogs in the state of Illinois!
Illinois House Bill 1080, sponsored by Representative John E. Bradley, would remove the statewide prohibition of breed-specific legislation in Illinois. That means if HB 1080 passes, any city or county in the state of Illinois could pass breed-specific legislation banning or restricting any breed they so choose. Rep. Bradley, who is an attorney by profession, ought to know better than to introduce a piece of legislation that would allow unconstitutional and ineffective breed bans and breed-specific restrictions in the state of Illinois.
Indeed, let’s look at all the ways that breed-specific legislation (BSL) has proven unconstitutional, ineffective, and unenforceable…
* Toledo, Ohio’s BSL was ruled unconstitutional in January 2010 as it went well beyond the purview of state law.
* Legislation currently in the Ohio legislature seeks to remove the archaic dangerous dog designation for “pit bulls” via HB 14, because, as HB 14’s sponsor noted, Ohio’s BSL discriminates against “pit bulls” and their owners. (We’ve seen this countless times: BSL that is passed because its proponents were really racist and classist. They use the “those people” terminology to describe minorities who own “pit bulls,” Rottweilers, etc.; people who they claim must be thugs, drug dealers, or gang bangers simply because they own a certain type of dog. BSL is one of the last accepted forms of discrimination in the U.S. because it’s one of the few remaining ways to discriminate against African-Americans and Latinos without being fingered as a racist.)
* Rockville Centre, New York repealed their BSL July 23, 2010, citing its unconstitutionality.
* Topeka, Kansas repealed their BSL September 28, 2010, citing its ineffectiveness.
BSL has proven ineffective internationally as well:
* In May 2010, the Toronto Humane Society released statistics from a survey they conducted which showed that “the number of dog bites in Ontario had changed little” since Ontario’s 2005 ban on “pit bull” “breeds” was instituted.
* It has been widely reported in the BBC that the UK’s BSL, which has been instituted since 1991, has been an utter failure as there has been a huge rise in banned fighting dogs. Efforts are now underway to repeal the UK ban.
These are just a handful of recent examples illustrating that BSL has been a failed policy nationally and worldwide. So you have to ask yourself, if BSL is worldwide known to be ineffective, unenforceable, and in this country unconstitutional, why do cities and states entertain it? As already noted, many times BSL is simply an under-the-radar form of racism, but where does BSL really come from? Who is dangling BSL in front of racist and classist or payola-type “representatives” and lying to them about BSL’s supposed effectiveness? BSL’s true sources are the clandestine radical animal rights groups who have an agenda to end domestic animal ownership, who buy off, er I mean, “contribute” to the campaigns of select “representatives” or offer some other shady, back-room deal so that the “representative” will push the animal rightists’ onerous, rights-negating legislation. The end-goal of all this stepping-stone legislation is to disallow anyone from owning domesticated animals (including agricultural animals) of any kind. Along the same vein, it is no coincidence that Oklahoma and Texas are currently considering the repeal of their statewide prohibitions of breed-specific legislation as well and that “representatives” in Florida have for the past few years tried same in the Florida legislature.
The perverse agenda of radical animal rights groups is understood, though, make no mistake, it is an utter affront to American values and our Constitution. What we can’t understand is how any so-called “representative” could so blatantly violate his oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic (and yes, radical animal rights groups have known domestic terrorist ties), and propose legislation that would allow for the blatant violation of due process, equal protection, and property rights afforded every American under the Constitution.
Rep. Bradley’s own website states right on the first page that he will “fight to protect our values.” Our Constitution is the foundation on which all our American values rest and yet Rep. Bradley would so carelessly take away the state-level protections that would keep misguided Illinois municipalities from passing onerous, impotent, and rights-negating breed-specific legislation. Our constitutional rights to due process, equal protection, and property ownership — which are all negated or diluted by breed-specific legislation — are our core, fundamental, and inalienable rights such that anyone who would dare take them away or dilute them should fall under suspicion of treason.