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Tag: state house

Does N.C. legislature have a new top dog?


There’s a rising star in the North Carolina legislature, and she has four legs.

A miniature Pomeranian named Diva comes to work every day at the General Assembly with her owners, Republican representative Nathan Ramsey and his wife, Robin Ramsey, a legislative assistant — and the fuzzy four-pound dog is said to be developing quite a following.

The Ramseys, who live on a farm in Fairview during the off-season, say they started bringing Diva to work in February, because they thought she’d be lonely staying at the condo they reside in while in Raleigh.

Since then, she’s shown herself to be a valuable asset, both a diplomat and a crowd-drawer.

“… In a short time, the taffy-colored rescue pup has arguably become the most chased after creature at the legislative building. Walk in on any given day and you’ll see a steady stream of bipartisan visitors knocking on the Ramseys’ office door,” North Carolina Public Radio station WUNC (91.5 FM) reported.

“It certainly opened the door to more visitors, which is good,” said Robin Ramsey.

On building tours for visiting schoolchildren, Diva’s office has become a regular stop — and, we’d guess, one of the more exciting ones.

“I make it a point to stop by,” said Democrat Rick Glazier of Fayetteville. “You can’t leave after playing with Diva and talking to the Ramseys unhappy or in a bad mood, and that is not always true around here.”

Ramsey, a former county commissioner, says Diva helps breaks the ice and cut through frosty exteriors. And he suspects she has helped him garner support for at least a couple of measures he has introduced.

“A lot of this is about relationships, and really, unless you’re a seat-mate with someone, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to reach across the aisle,” he said. “You don’t develop relationships by sitting in a committee meeting. You have to find out about other people’s lives and families and get to know them in more depth.”

Speaker of the House Thom Tillis recently stopped by Ramsey’s office with his boxer, Ike. A spokesman for the speaker reported the get-together was “like many meetings in this building — more sniffing around than anything else.”

Back home on the family dairy farm, Diva likes to spend her time circling the baby calf pen.

She likes to round things up, Ramsey says, and those skills seem to have translated from barnyard to state house.

(Photo by Jessica Jones / WUNC)

Devocalizing dogs, devocalizing citizens

Those hoping to speak their mind about a bill in Massachusetts that would ban devocalizing dogs found themselves effectively silenced this week.

The Judiciary Committee hearing — because of the committee’s decision to hear 227 bills in one day — saw debate cut off on a number of bills, including one that would ban the process of cutting or removing a dog’s vocal cords.

Backers of the bill (H 344)say (or would have, anyway) that the procedure causes unnecessary harm to dogs, puts dog-owners at risk of being bitten without warning and can lead to infection of dogs’ throats.

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Wrentham) did get a chance to speak in support of the bill, which was proposed at the urging of a Needham High School student, Jordan Star, who after encountering a dog that had been devocalized, felt it was morally wrong. The bill if passed, will be known as “Logan’s Law”, named after a Belgian Sheepdog that underwent devocalization surgery and was later abandoned.

The bill would make it illegal to devocalize a dog unless it is medically necessary to treat an illness or disease. The law would be punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2500.

The Humane Society of the United States and ASPCA support the bill.  The Massachusetts Veterinary Association is opposed to the bill and worries that the bill “does not make debarking available as a last resort to save an animal’s life or home”.

The Judiciary Committee was forced to cut off testimony Tuesday from speakers on a range of topics, from gun violence, to sexual assault and a bill to add gender identity to the state’s non-discrimination statute, according to a report in the Wellesley Townsman. Advocates for various bills privately questioned why the committee would schedule so many contentious bills for one hearing, and some said they would have to leave without testifying because of the long waits.