'Slinky' by Erin Perry, Creative Commons license 2.0

As ever, the new year brings with it a bunch of new laws going into effect and new people in office, so let's take a moment to pet and love some nifty new developments in the states. Maybe not all the states (Bad Georgia! Bad!) but there's some Good Laws and Good Government out there. Here, have a Snausage and celebrate!

California: That Doggie (And Kitty, And Bunny) In The Window Has To Come From A Shelter, Hooray!

A new breed of animal-welfare law went into effect in the Golden State January 1: Pet stores will now be banned from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits from commercial breeders. Instead, those pets will have to come from shelters. The law is the first statewide ban on sales of pets from breeders, and is intended to put "puppy mills" and "kitten factories" (and we guess ..."bunny bodegas"?) out of business. The law was passed in October 2017, but only went into effect now to give pet shops time to adjust to the new rules.

A fact sheet for the 2017 law, AB 485, explained the new regulations were intended to crack down on unregulated breeding facilities that "house animals in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate food, water, socialization or veterinary care." Pet stores violating the law will have to pay a fine of $500 per animal.

"Because pet stores are one step removed from the breeding of the animals they sell, store owners rarely know the breeding conditions of their animals," the fact sheet said.

The law is likely to be good for the health of purebred doggos (and kitties and bun-buns) too, since one of the problems with puppy mills is that they breed animals on a large scale without regard for overbreeding, leading to weak sad doggies with genetic disorders. People who want a pedigreed animal will still be able to buy directly from breeders, so ideally this will be good for critters, breeders, and pet owners all around.

The New York Times notes that although the California law is the first of its kind to affect a whole state, similar laws have been quite the big deal at the city and county level, and more statewide laws are likely on the way.

In conclusion, we like mutts. They are good dogs!

Wisconsin: Dem Governor-Elect Won't SIT For Republican Power Grab

In Wisconsin, Gov.-elect Tony Evers won't be sworn in until January 7, but he's already making plans to oppose the Republican legislative majority's stupid lame-duck laws aimed at restricting his ability to do his job. But he's not going to sue to ask for permission to please let him be the governor. Nope, he told reporters yesterday, he's going to do governor stuff, and if the Rs think he's overstepping the bounds of the restrictions they passed (and which Scott Walker signed) after Walker lost the election, well then, they can darn well sue to see if those restrictions are constitutional.

[Evers] suggested he wouldn't go along with parts of those wide-ranging measures but wouldn't specify which ones. The new laws limit his authority over state rules, require him to get permission from lawmakers to adjust public benefits programs and diminish his say over the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

He said the lame-fuckery reminded him of efforts by Walker and the state lege to limit his authority as state schools superintendent, his current job (which he'll remain in until sworn in as governor):

"Having gone through this in my previous job as state superintendent, I think it's more likely that I will be sued because I'm now the chief executive of the state," Evers said of a potential legal fight over the lame-duck legislation. "Same thing happened when I was state superintendent — I was sued. So that's where I anticipate most of the action to be."

As for Evers's suggestion that he'll just go ahead and be governor, Wisconsin Rs warned they would be very offended should he ignore their ignoring the voters' choice for who should run the state, because RULE OF (arbitrary, changed-after-the-election) LAW. A rightwing legal group is already gearing up to sue Evers if he doesn't behave himself, and state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who led the lame-duck power grab, warned Evers had best remember his place:

Evers said he looks forward to working with the lege where he can, and if there are some legal challenges over the measures to restrict his powers, that's fine, too:

I thought the lame duck session was an effort to kind of disenfranchise the people that voted in the last election," he said. "So, is that wrong? Yes, absolutely it's wrong. So I will continue to have that stand, but at the end of the day I also know I have to work with the legislators to get things accomplished."

"I can walk and chew gum at the same time. I can be annoyed and against what they did, but by gosh, we have to solve some major problems. Education, transportation and health care was what I ran and won on. That's what we're going to be focused on."

We'll keep you posted on how this all develops.


There's also a nice grab bag of improved laws going into effect around the country. Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska will be expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act after voters passed initiatives -- they were all sick of their legislatures' foot-dragging. The new benefits won't all go into effect right away, but holy crap, we had to find an excuse to mention the one progressive thing in Idaho for AGES.

California, Illinois, and Oregon have new restrictions on guns that go into effect this week. That includes a passel of new gun laws in California, the closure of a loophole in Oregon law that'll prevent convicted stalkers and domestic abusers from owning guns, and a seven-day waiting period for all gun sales in Illinois. Unfortunately, a measure to move the entire state away from gun-crazy Indiana is still considered "physically impossible."

The minimum wage is being raised in a whole bunch of places, including New York, California, and 20 others, hooray! A whole bunch of cities are also raising their minimum wage, too -- in all, the National Employment Law Project estimates about 17 million workers will see increases in the minimum wage this year.

And then there are all the states whose legislatures have taken action to reflect the #MeToo movement:

California will ban the use of "secret settlements" in sexual abuse and harassment cases, requiring that the accused be identified. The Golden State will also ban employers from requiring workers to sign releases of liability in exchange for employment or a bonus. Delaware, New York and Washington, meanwhile, are imposing new requirements on sexual harassment policy. In New York, for example, state contractors will have to draft sexual harassment policies and train their workers on them.

Also, too, in big news for hunters in Illinois who want a fashion option other than blaze orange, hunters can now wear bright pink as well so they'll be a little less likely to get shot and gutted by fellow animal-shooting enthusiasts. We can only assume it's some sort of weird tribute to Molly Ringwald for her 2018 New Yorker piece reassessing The Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink.

And now this is your OPEN THREAD, so please run around and bark and play and shred the houseplants, but only the metaphorical kind, if you please!

[Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel / NYT / USA Today / US News / New Yorker / Photo: "Slinky" by Erin Perry, Creative Commons license 2.0]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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