Subject: AB 647 Dies Due to Procedural Rift Importance: High Date: March 2007
Sadly our bill died in the legislature yesterday due to a procedural
attempt by our author to keep it alive without prior approval by the
Senate leadership. It had nothing to do with the bill (the Senate
leadership is NOT against this issue) but everything to do with not
following procedures that would have put our bill in a more favorable
Our lobbyist is still trying to see if there is anything that can be
done at any level to salvage this year's efforts but keep in mind
that failure at the legislative level NEVER precludes another bill,
NEVER shuts the door on subsequent bills or authors. What WILL close
the door for years to come on ALL avenues (including efforts at the
level of the Governor's office) is a FAILED INITIATIVE.
If a ferret legalization ballot initiative qualifies, make no
mistake, it WILL FAIL. And it will fail for several reasons:
1) The issue DOES NOT AFFECT THE MAJORITY OF CA VOTERS.
2) We have NO advertising budget which is KEY to success as anyone
knows with initiatives.
3) Without any kind of environmental study, we will have multiple
groups in opposition who dropped their opposition to our bill when a
study was included (Sierra Club, CA Waterfowl, Audubon Society,
Governor's Office, Planning and Conservation League). All of these
organizations have $$ to spend in political ads against a ferret
No legislator will introduce a ferret legalization bill on the heels
of a failed initiative. No Governor will legalize ferrets after the
people of California have spoken and said they do not want ferrets
legalized in California. Our opponents would be delighted to see a
ferret legalization initiative on the ballot because they know it
will fail and it will be the end of the issue for quite some time.
The initiative plays right into their hands.
A very small percentage of the bills introduced each year reach the
Governor's Office. If our author had made our bill more of a priority
and received prior approval for his procedural efforts with the
Senate leadership, we would have again reached the Governor's desk
and this was a bill he could sign. My objective in this issue has
been to move the ball forward AND TO DO NO HARM to the issue. A
FAILED INITIATIVE DOES SERIOUS HARM TO FERRET LEGALIZATION EFFORTS.
I'm sorry about the bill's demise and want to thank all of you who
wrote to your Senators and Assemblymembers. You've done a fine job.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our lobbyist Bob Naylor and to our
author Paul Koretz. It's quite a bit of work to carry a bill and Mr.
Koretz did a fantastic job of presenting our bill in committee and
clearly cared about it but with so many bills to carry, it just came
up short sadly.
Another ferret bill will eventually succeed. In any case, we close no
doors with this failure. But make no mistake, a failed initiative
CLOSES ALL DOORS TO LEGALIZATION FOR DECADES.
When Governor Davis was in office, we were able to gather 46,000 signatures petitioning him to help legalize ferrets in California. But that effort fell on deaf ears unfortunately. Still, that was a tremendous amount of signatures and I'm hoping we can do that again with this Governor who, though clearly not as helpful as we had hoped, is still more sympathetic to our cause than our previous Governor.
As most of you know, our bill is stalled in the Senate Appropriations Committee. To be able to move forward, it needs to come off of the suspense file and on to the Senate Floor. I've asked those of you in Senator Migden's district and Senator Perata's district to write to those senators and hopefully you all have done so.
Now it's time to let the Governor know how Californians fell about ferret legalization.
Make no mistake. This is NOT a ballot initiative. For those of you who do not know about that process, it takes one million dollars to gather the signatures needed to qualify. Why? Because those signatures need to be valid California voters and issues that end up on the ballot are there because there was quite a bit of money behind them, enough to pay people to collect signatures. This issue doesn't have that kind of money.
Even if we did have a benefactor, putting ferret legalization on the ballot is very, very dangerous. This isn't an issue that directly affects every voter as does insurance or taxes. Many, many people in California still don't really know what a ferret is. And what they've heard from the state isn't positive. The money to put an issue on the ballot is just a small part of the money needed to see an issue through. The rest comes in advertising which would need to be state wide and intensive. We don't have money for that either! But the opposition does! The state could easily mount a misinformation campaign that could persuade Californians to vote against a ferret initiative. If that initiative fails, it will seal the fate of ferret legalization in California for decades because legislators would look at the failed initiative and say, "Californians have spoken, they don't want ferrets." To leave this issue in the hands of the majority when we are clearly at a disadvantage in terms of financing and a fair playing field is not a good idea and can do far more harm than good.
What we need to do now is to see this bill through and ask the Governor for his help. To do that we should aim for 50,000 signatures by Feb.1st, 2006. I think we can do that if we all work hard.
If you have a web site please download the PDF from Californians for Ferret Legalization and put it on your web site. Ask Californians to print it out and gather signatures. Make it a goal to gather at least 100 signatures. Set up a table outside a pet store, go the mall (the holidays are coming and malls will be busy), Safeway, Albertson's, movie theathers anywhere people gather. Ask friends, family members, co-workers, everyone you know to sign. We must gather enough signatures to get the Governor's attention!
Please be sure to return all signatures to me (try to fill each page if possible which will be easier for me to count) at:
410 Mountain Home Road
Woodside, CA 94062