NOW LAW: TOO HOT FOR SPOT
It is an all-too common sight on our social media feeds – stories of pets, often but not exclusively dogs, left in dangerously hot cars in grocery store parking lots, at the movies, at shopping centers. As many of us know by now, the inside of a car in the summer is far hotter than outside. An 85-degree summer day can rapidly become 100 degrees inside of a parked car.
That is why Rep. Ehrlich and her colleagues were relieved to pass, and see Governor Baker sign, a bill to establish penalties for anyone who leaves an animal in car in a way that would reasonably threaten their health due to extreme temperatures. The act which Rep. Ehrlich filed with State Senator Mark Montigny also allows volunteers to break the car window as long as the person makes a reasonable effort to locate the owner, notifies 911, and has a reasonable belief that breaking into the car is necessary to prevent imminent danger or harm to the animal.
Both Good Samaritans and first responders would be protected from civil and criminal punishment. The bill also prohibits a pet owner from keeping a dog tied to a doghouse, pole, or other structure for longer than five hours a day and no more than 15 minutes in extreme weather.
How we treat animals speaks directly to how we treat our fellow human beings. Animals have no voice with which they can advocate for themselves, so it is vital that we treat them humanely and the law is a powerful way to ensure that happens.
90th Session Bills:
sexual assault climate surveys
Sexual assault is a public health epidemic in our communities, and especially on our college campuses, which we have so many of in Massachusetts. We owe it to the young men and women who enroll in our fine colleges and universities to do all we can to make sure that they have a safe environment in which to learn.
This legislation creates a task force to develop a model sexual assault climate survey for the campuses of public and private institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth. It also mandates that all higher education institutions in the Commonwealth annually implement either the model survey or an internally developed survey and report the results to the Commissioner of Higher Education.
One of the biggest difficulties we face with this problem is the lack of good information. An estimated 90% of assaults are not reported, severely undermining our ability to understand and deal with this crisis. Collecting anonymized feedback from students, faculty, and staff at higher education institutions about their perceptions and experiences is a vital first step in ending sexual assault.