Texas State Representative Senfronia Thompson Gives Her "Little Dog" Report From The State Capitol

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A True Fight for the Little Dogs!

In response to the alarming number of unlicensed and unregulated large-scale commercial dog breeding facilities operating in Texas, I have introduced House Bill 3180 which will require these operations, commonly known as puppy mills, to meet minimum standards of care and housing for their animals.

I just want to ensure that there is a guaranteed minimum standard of care and a level of humaneness for all these animals.

Puppy mills are commercial dog breeding facilities that confine adult dogs in small, cramped cages and keep them in perpetual cycles of breeding. A female dog will often spend her entire life confined in a cage, producing puppies every heat cycle. When she can no longer reproduce, she is usually destroyed or abandoned.

Puppy mills are flooding the pet market with inbred, unhealthy puppies being sold to unsuspecting buyers in pet stores and through Internet ads. Many of these puppies die soon after being purchased or require the owner to spend thousands of dollars in veterinary care to try to save them.

Puppy mill operators often use misleading ads claiming to be small breeders providing humane conditions and proper care when, in fact, they are confining hundreds of dogs in cruel, filthy conditions without veterinary care and proper nutrition.

Now that we know the shockingly cruel conditions in which these animals are being kept and the tragedies that many pet buyers are enduring after unknowingly purchasing puppies that were bred in puppy mills, it’s time to take action to clean up this industry.

The Texas Humane Legislation Network and hundreds of animal welfare agencies, rescue groups and law enforcement officials throughout the state support this bill.

Monday, March 09, 2009

House Bill 1152 Press Conference

The 81st Legislature will have another opportunity to hear the controversial issue of whether mentally retarded offenders should be executed in Texas. In 2001 state lawmakers passed legislation that would ban the execution of capital offenders with mental retardation. The bill was later vetoed by the Governor. Since that time, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Atkins v. Virginia, that executions of mentally retarded criminals were "cruel and unusual punishments", prohibited by the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Currently, Texas does not provide a provision that would set the foundation for determining the guidelines necessary to implement the federal law and the US Supreme Court's decision in Atkins.

Because of this, I eagerly accepted the opportunity to file House Bill 1152. This bill would allow the defendant in a capital case, before the trial begins, to request a hearing to determine whether or not the defendant was a person with mental retardation at the time of the offense. In addition, House Bill 1152 prohibits the court from sentencing a person with mental retardation to death. Senate Bill 167, is an identical bill filed by Senator Ellis.

Prior to the Atkins decision, Congress adopted legislation to ban the execution of individuals with mental retardation and eighteen states passed laws in compliance with federal law. Since the 2002 judgment, eight states have changed their statutes to comply with the Supreme Court's decision. Texas leads in the number of executions. However, regardless of your position on the death penalty, I would like to think that Texans from all backgrounds would discourage a potential record where we lead in the number of executions of individuals who are mentally retarded.

On March 10, 2009 I will be holding a press conference in the Speaker's Committee Room (2:00 PM - 3:00 PM). Experts from various backgrounds will provide information on the importance of passing HB 1152 and will be available to answer questions.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Bills to look out for

Bill filing deadline is quickly approaching. (March 13, 2009 at 6:00 pm) This coming Friday will be the last day for all legislators to file bills for this session. Currently, I have filed a total of 49 pieces of legislation, and anticipate filing several more before the deadline. I invite you all to visit the Texas Legislature Online website to keep track of issues that are important to you.

Below you will find a handful of the legislation that I have filed this session which I think are important for all my constituents to keep track of:

House Bill 639- Human Trafficking
House Bill 788- Innocence Commission
House Bill 1152- The applicability of the death penalty to persons with mental retardation.
House Bill 1378- Electricity expenses relating to weather related events or natural disasters.
House Bill 1489- Nurse-to-patient ratios
House Bill 1572- Improper Debt Collection
House Bill 1574- Creation of a statewide autism spectrum disorders resource center.
House Bills 1760 & 2595- Foreclosures

Please check back often for updates.