Gatto approves bill that bans hunting of bears, bobcats

The Sacramento office of Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) received a petition last Monday morning signed by 2,000 residents in his district urging him to support a bill that would ban the use of hounds in the hunting of bears and bobcats after he failed to vote on the measure a few days earlier.

Gatto approved the bill later that day, sending it to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Gatto said there were several last-minute amendments made to AB 1221 that he wanted to study before casting a vote.

In the first round of voting, the bill needed seven votes to pass before the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife, but only got six, with Gatto abstaining.

“I checked with a number of my constituents who I turn to for advice on these issues and they thought the provisions in the bill were workable and made sense for California,” Gatto said during a phone interview.

He said his office also received many phone calls regarding the measure from people living in, and outside, the 43rd Assembly District.

Jennifer Fearing, California director for the Humane Society of the United States, said her organization is elated Gatto voted in favor of the bill.

“We are very pleased that the forward momentum for this bill continues,” she said.

She added that she feels confident that the outreach efforts in Gatto's district were “powerful and persuasive.”

During the petition drive, one volunteer who gathered about 500 signatures said 100% of the people who stopped and talked to her signed the document.

-- Mark Kellam, Times Community News

Twitter: @LAMarkKellam

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