NM legislation moves slowly toward recognition of animals

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By Merilee Dannemann

Of all the bills that died in this year’s legislature, I thought surely the pet food tax would have passed.

The pet food tax – excuse me, fee – passed comfortably last year and was vetoed by Gov. Susana Martinez. I thought it deserved easy passage. Instead it died early in the session.

The bill was House Bill 53, sponsored by Rep. Joanne Ferrary, who was a cosponsor last year

The bill would have levied a small tax, or maybe a fee, on the manufacturers of pet food and earmarked the money for spay and neuter programs. The analysis last year estimated revenue of about $1.3 million.

The bill was stopped by a newly discovered technical issue related to the difference between a tax and a fee. Co-sponsor Sen. Jacob Candelaria introduced a similar bill, SB 367, that was stopped for the same reason, Ferrary explained in a recent conversation.

Ferrary is confident the issues will be reconciled during the interim and the bill brought back next year or in 2021.

Ferrary also lost out on HB 52, which would have added household pets or companion animals to those protected in the definition of domestic abuse.

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