Beagle2The Associated Press - May 24, 2016 | As published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.  — A bill that would've required universities in Illinois to offer healthy feline and canine test subjects to rescue organizations has provoked a dispute between its Democratic sponsor and the University of Illinois.

The initial legislation from state Sen. Linda Holmes of Aurora stalled after the university said it already has adoption procedures in place and several lawmakers questioned whether it was a solution in search of a problem, the Chicago Tribune  reported.

The measure is nicknamed "the beagle bill" because beagles are the breed of dogs most commonly used for experiments and the adoption effort is bolstered by the Beagle Freedom Project, an animal rights group that's successfully lobbied for similar legislation in Minnesota, Connecticut, Nevada and California. The goal is to prevent animals from automatically being euthanized when labs are done testing on them.

Holmes argues that the University of Illinois doesn't support the measure because it has a vendetta against the Beagle Freedom Project and it doesn't want a spotlight shone on animal testing at its facilities.

University of Illinois officials deny any mistreatment of the school's research animals.

Spokeswoman Robin Kaler said the university's research animals are used in trials to test ingredients used in pet food. She said most of the animals are adopted and only some are euthanized so researchers can collect internal tissue for futher analysis.

Between 2011 and 2015, 24 dogs owned by the university for research purposes were adopted, five were euthanized and one remains on campus, according to data released by the school.

Holmes made several changes to the bill after the initial version was shot down. Last month, she proposed requiring universities to publicly post animals available for adoption online, and most recently proposed requiring universities to make their animal research protocols public.

But the University of Illinois continues to argue that the legislation isn't needed when most of its animals already found homes.

The changes were met by conflicting opinions from lawmakers who didn't see the need to override experts and others who didn't see any harm in enforcing new regulations.

Read the original article as published at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch here.

Category: Latest

Beagle1Chicago Tribune - May 23, 2016 | Original article

By Celeste Bott

What initially seemed like a feel-good animal rescue bill has sparked a fight between the University of Illinois and a lawmaker who says the state's largest public university is deliberately withholding information about its animal research programs.

Under a measure nicknamed "the beagle bill," Sen. Linda Holmes started out wanting to require universities to offer healthy cats and dogs to rescue organizations when they are no longer needed for testing. The Democrat from Aurora, who describes herself as a longtime animal lover and former Humane Society volunteer, argues that since research dogs and cats cost thousands of dollars, taxpayers should be given the chance to adopt the animals.

Beagles are the breed of dogs most commonly used for experiments, and the adoption effort is being pushed by the Beagle Freedom Project, a group that has successfully lobbied for similar legislation in Minnesota, Connecticut, Nevada and California. The idea is to prevent research animals from automatically being euthanized.

But the legislation has stalled after heated debate at a hearing where universities led by the U. of I. said they already have adoption polices in place. As such, several lawmakers questioned weather Holmes' bill was a solution in search of a problem.

Read more ...

Category: Latest

 

State Sen. Linda Holmes issued the following statement after voting for a measure that would enact automatic voter registration in Illinois.

“Everyone from President Obama down to the citizens who need to stand in line for hours to exercise their rights as American citizens is calling for this,” said Holmes, D-Aurora. “This isn’t complicated: If more people are registered, more people will vote. I urge the House and Governor Rauner to make this the law and strengthen the voice of the people.”

Senate Bill 250 passed the Illinois Senate 42-16. It proceeds to the Illinois House for consideration.

Category: New Releases

Senator Holmes on the floor of the Illinois SenateCalling on Gov. Bruce Rauner to act quickly to avoid the loss of crucial federal matching funds intended to provide health insurance to children, State Sen. Linda Holmes urged him to sign an extension to the Covering All Kids Health Insurance Act after it passed the Senate 44-12 today.

“There’s a reason that All Kids has met with bipartisan support: It’s an important program that’s good for children and families,” Holmes said. “It’s also a program for which the federal government provides matching funding, and that means we risk losing twice the funding for the children who need health care the most if Governor Rauner does not act. I urge him to sign this authorization.”

The program covers an estimated 41,000 children from working poor families, regardless of their immigration status, and is one reason Illinois has the second highest rate of health coverage for Latino children in the nation at 95.5 percent. It constitutes roughly one half of one percent of the state’s health insurance spending while bringing in $40 million in federal matching funds.

The Covering All Kids Health Insurance Act will end July 1 unless Governor Rauner signs House Bill 5736, which would extend the sunset date to October 1, 2019.

Category: New Releases

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