TRENTON – Bills dealing with animal care will highlight Thursday’s hearing of the Senate Economic Growth Committee.
S1303, also known as Patrick’s Law, will increase criminal punishment and civil penalties for abusing an animal or depriving it of food.
The proposal, originally introduced last year, is named after a Newark pit bull that was starved, placed in a garbage bag, and dropped down a trash chute in an apartment complex.
The dog was rescued by a maintenance person.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Thomas Kean Jr., (R-21), Westfield, would increase deprivation and abuse offenses to fourth-degree, and to third-degree if the animal dies.
The criminal penalty could include a prison term of up to six months and a fine of $500 to $2,000. The civil penalty for a first offense could be $1,000 to $3,000 and for subsequent offenses $3,000 to $5,000.
A companion bill, A798, awaits a committee hearing as well.
Another item on the agenda, SCR127, would have the Legislature set up a task force to look into the illegal trade and inhumane treatment of endangered, exotic animals.
The resolution, sponsored by Sen. Raymond Lesniak, (D-20), Union, was introduced this summer and is related to another initiative of Lesniak’s that was conditionally vetoed by the governor.
Lesniak’s bill, passed by the Legislature, would have required the state to create a registration system regarding tigers to ensure they are not traded illegally.
The committee is scheduled to consider two other bills.
S1858, sponsored by Sens. Barbara Buono, (D-18), Metuchen, and Sandra Cunningham, (D-31), Jersey City, would direct the state to promote higher education and business partnerships.
The proposal would have the state’s Economic Development Authority and the Commission on Higher Education undertake several efforts, including maintaining a database on college and university research and development activities, and facilitate the exchange of information between businesses and universities.
A1522, whose sponsors include Assembly members John Burzichelli, (D-3), Paulsboro, and Celeste Riley, (D-3), Bridgeton, would require the Board of Public Utilities to make a decision within 180 days of receiving a utility petition to sell property.
The bill, which passed the Assembly unanimously last year, would change a law that gave BPU a year to render such a decision.