A Visit to Richmond

On Tuesday morning, January 24,  we drove to Richmond to meet with other Virginia wildlife educators, zoo directors, animal rescues, wildlife veterinarians, and small business owners who will all be negatively impacted if Virginia Senate Bill No. 477 and/or House Bill No. 1242 are passed.  We also spent time meeting with senators and house members to let them know the unintended consequences that would happen if these bills were passed.

We learned a few things that would be helpful for anyone interested in helping us stop the passage of these poorly written bills:

1.  Write hand written letters to the Senators and House Members on the committees in charge of the bills. The letter should give reasons why the bill, if passed as is, will impact you personally.  A one page letter is best.  We were informed that emails are rarely, if ever read.  Also, form letters are often thrown out before being read.  Hand written letters, from a personal perspective, are the most likely to have impact on a representative.

A list of state Senators, including all contact information,  involved in the bill is at http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?121+com+S01

The list of house members, including all contact information,  involved in the bill is athttp://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?121+sub+H01001

To find out who your Virginia representatives are, visit http://conview.state.va.us/whosmy.nsf/main?openform

2.  Be kind, cooperative, and respectful when addressing your representatives, their aides or any office staff, whether in writing or in person. Keep the door open with the legislator so that he/she will continue to listen to you in the future.  The goal is to have the bill thrown out – but sending the bill “out for study” is good too.   We agree that people need protection from dangerous animals, but these bills, as they are written, will  not stop dangerous animals from being kept in unsafe conditions in Virginia, they will only put a stop to responsible animal ownership and education.

3.  Meet with committee members in person, especially if the member represents your district.Plan ahead.  Be ready to make your point in 3-5 minutes.  Bring a lots of copies of the bill itself and a one page list of bullet points that summarize your position against the bill that you can give to each representative or his/her aide.  Many of the representatives may not have read the bill or may not be fully aware of what it says.   Also, remember to dress properly:  business attire is best.

Reptiles Alive needs Your Help

Do you love seeing a professional, exciting, safe and fun live animal show at your school, library, scout meeting, party, or special event?  Are you in favor of inspiring children to care about wildlife and the environment?  How do you feel about small businesses providing jobs and income for families?

RIGHT NOW there is legislation, both passed and impending, causing negative impact professional wildlife educators, environmental education, small businesses and families.

This week, the US Fish & Wildlife Service passed a nonsensical ban on the interstate transport of Burmese pythons and 3 other snake species to protect Everglades National Park.  However, according to USFWS officials who created the ban:  “Although the ban should put a stop to additional pythons entering the country, officials say it will not solve the snake problem in the Everglades. We still have to look at improved management and removal to better protect our habitat.”

So a MAJOR piece of government regulation that will have overreaching negative impacts on families and small businesses across the United States will not even accomplish what it’s intended goal was!!!

Now, there is another looming piece of government regulation.

Proposed Virginia Senate Bill Number 477 will be a major blow to Virginia’s citizens.  Unintended consequences of this ill-conceived legislation will impact everyone from school children to the Virginia tourism industry.

Please take the time to read the bill and reach out to the Virginia Senators involved in this proposal.  Their names and contact information can be found at http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?121+com+S01

You might also consider contacting your local newspaper, radio, or televisions stations to let them know how you feel about the proposed bill.

NEXT – The Reptiles Alive LLC Official Response to Proposed Senate Bill No. 477