STAND. COM. REP. NO. 165

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: S.B. No. 998

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-Second State Legislature

Regular Session of 2023

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committee on Agriculture and Environment, to which was referred S.B. No. 998 entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO THE SPAYING AND NEUTERING OF ANIMALS,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to:

 

(1) Establish a Spay and Neuter Special Fund;

 

(2) Allow funds from an income tax check-off to be deposited into the Spay and Neuter Special Fund; and

 

(3) Establish an advisory committee to help establish eligibility criteria and procedures for disbursements from the special fund, prioritizing funding to organizations that specialize in Trap-Neuter-Release.

 

Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Alley Cat Allies, Animal Rights Hawaii, Cat People of Oahu, Hawaii Reef and Ocean Coalition, PETFIX Spay and Neuter, Hawaiian Humane Society, CAT-CARE, Pono Advocacy, Poi Dogs and Popoki, Cat Friends, Hawaii Cat Foundation, Animal Interfaith Alliance in Britain, Aloha Kitty TNR, Kauai Humane Society, Environmental Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, and one hundred forty-three individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Department of Budget and Finance, American Bird Conservancy, Kauai Albatross Network, Friends of Kauai Wildlife Refuges, and twenty-four individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Taxation.

 

Your Committee finds that free-roaming-cat overpopulation is a persistent issue in the State. The greatest cause for concern is that these cats hunt and kill native and endangered bird populations, and it is estimated that three out of four stray cats carry a disease called toxoplasmosis, which is caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii that can spread to humans and other animals. Toxoplasmosis spores survive as they are excreted through cat feces and wash into the ocean with runoff, spreading the disease to endangered Hawaiian monk seals and other marine life. Your Committee additionally finds that spaying and neutering can help to manage and reduce the overpopulation of feral cats in the State, thereby reducing the consequences related to these cats. Thus, this measure establishes and appropriates funds for a Spay and Neuter Special Fund, and establishes an advisory committee to establish eligibility criteria and procedures to prioritize funding to organizations that specialize in Trap-Neuter-Release practices.

 

As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Agriculture and Environment that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 998 and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Agriculture and Environment,

 

 

 

________________________________

MIKE GABBARD, Chair