Humane Lobbey Day 2013Does the idea of spending a day at the State Capitol in Sacramento seem daunting and boring? What if I described it as inspiring? On Wednesday, June 19 it was just that.

I attended California Humane Lobby Day along with MHS staffers Connie Downing, development associate and Animal Care Technicians Eva Quiroz and Russell Walker. This was my second time attending this event that is sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the ASPCA, and the Marin Humane Society.

Humane Lobby Day is open to everyone. It is a day when citizen animal advocates gather at the Capitol to learn and practice lobbying for animal protection laws at the state level. It is a full-day that includes an overview of current relevant bills in our State Legislature: AB 339 which would ban the sale of animals at swap meets, AB 711 which would ban lead in ammunition, AB 789 – trapping amendment, and AB 1213 – Bobcat Protection Act of 2013. Appointments are scheduled with your state legislators so that you can meet with them (or their staff) face to face, share your position on legislation, and ask for animal-friendly votes.

Between reviewing bills and the afternoon meetings with representatives, we take part in a rally on the Capitol steps—yessiree, a rally! About 130 participants from all across the state joined en mass to show support for the animals. Armed with signs and a voice for change, we chanted things like, “What do we want? Humane laws! When do we want them, NOW!” and “Get the lead out,” (supporting AB 711 which would ban lead in buckshot) and “Stop the swap,” (supporting AB 339). Passers by stopped to take photos and watch the guest speakers which included Jennifer Fearing, (title) of HSUS, Senator Ted Liu (district), Assemblymember Mike Gatto (district), Senator Darrell Steinberg (district), among others.

In the afternoon we hit the pavement with our fellow lobbyists and armed with information, facts, and our charming smiles we entered the Capitol and navigate our way to my Assemblymember Marc Levine’s (district) office. We approached the door with palpable excitement to see a note on the door that they would return shortly. So we waited (and waited) in the hallway until his staff returned. We were unable to speak directly with Assemblymember Levine, so we spoke to a staff member. We already knew that he had voted ‘yes’ on the four bills, so we simply wanted to share our appreciation with him for voting the “animal friendly” way.

As we were leaving his office, proceeding down the stairwell, we recognized Assemblymember Levine headed UP the stairs! We all stopped and we were able to have a brief casual conversation thanking him directly.

After strategizing our next conversation we headed to Senator Noreen Evans’(district) office. After some redistricting last year, Senator Evans is now the Senate representative for Marin. We wanted to ensure that we stopped by her office to let her know how we were hoping she would vote on these four bills. Once again, we met with a staff member (which is common when lobbying).

At the end of this long day our group had our photo taken with Sutter Brown,California’s First Dog! Yep, that is Governor Jerry Brown’s corgi with us. Can you see the sense of accomplishment on our faces?

If you have ever thought of yourself as being a voice for the voiceless or as an animal advocate, Humane Lobby Day is a must!