Quick Summary: Although the Animal Friendly Account is a designated account and cannot be used for anything except spay/neuter programs, the money in that Account can be held indefinitely to help "balance the Budget" and that is what was passed by the House.
THANKS TO ALL FOR YOUR PREVIOUS HELPFUL ACTIONS IN RESPONSE TO OUR ACTION ALERTS!
As you may recall, when H.B. 1 (the State Budget Bill) passed the House it included a holdback of over $1 million in the Animal Friendly Account to help "balance the Budget." Although the Animal Friendly Account is a designated account and cannot be used for anything except spay/neuter programs, the money in that Account can be held indefinitely to help "balance the Budget" and that is what was passed by the House. Instead of allocating all the money in the Account, which is estimated to exceed $1.6 million, H.B. 1 as passed by the House, allocates only about $450,000 and holds the balance in the Account to help "balance the Budget." The purchasers of Animal Friendly License Plates did not buy them to help balance the Budget, but instead to help programs finance low and no cost spay/neuter surgeries.
When H.B. 1 was sent to the Senate, the Senate Finance Committee amended the Bill through a committee substitute (C.S.H.B. 1) which fully appropriates all funds currently in the Specialty License Plate Accounts. This includes the Animal Friendly License Plate Account. Thus, if the Senate C.S.H.B. 1 stays intact (pardon the pun) the Animal Friendly Account will have around $1.6 million to be used to award as grants for low and no cost spay/neuter programs throughout Texas.
What you can do now to help ensure the funds are fully allocated in the final State Budget Bill:
Please contact each member of the Senate Finance Committee and thank them for:
1. Appropriating the full amount of money in all of the accounts, especially the Animal Friendly Account; and
2. Authorizing the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to move unexpended balances in the Animal Friendly Account from one biennium to the next biennium.
As always, thank you for being polite and courteous when speaking with the committee members or their staff.
Senate Finance Committee members:
Steve Ogden (Chair):
T: (512) 463-0105
Juan Hinojosa (Vice Chair):
T: (512) 463-0120
Robert Deuell, M.D.
T: (512) 463-0102
T: (512) 463-0128
T: (512) 463-0101
T: (512) 463-0130
Eddie Lucio, JR.
T: (512) 463-0127
T: (512) 463-0112
T: (512) 463-0107
T: (512) 463-0131
T: (512) 463-0108
T: (512) 463-0123
T: (512) 463-0115
T: (512) 463-0104
T: (512) 463-0121
Please stay tuned for future action alerts on the next actions to take as C.S.H.B. 1 works its way through the Senate.
Issue Links: Texas Animal Laws