Mon, 11/16/2020 - 4:21pm

A Look Back at 2020

2020 was a lackluster year for enacting animal laws, says the National Animal Interest Alliance

The months-long 2020 election cycle is over, and even with the handful of races that are yet to be called, it’s safe to say that the U.S. is still a 50/50 country.


Federal Election Highlights


Congress: In the 2020 election, Americans voted to narrow the Democrat majority in the House and the Republican majority in the Senate. This very tight balance of power should:

• make it harder for extremist views to gain traction

• push both parties toward a more centrist agenda

• encourage lawmakers to work across the aisle

• provide our community greater political access.

Executive branch: With a potential Biden White House, narrow party majorities in both houses and the Senate held by the Republicans (at this writing), it seems likely that:

legislation supporting practical rather than ideological projects will be sent to the president’s desk for his signature – an infrastructure bill, for example

executive orders will continue to be a dominant tool of the executive branch


State Election Highlights


Some 2020 state races yet to be called, but as of this writing it appears that the balance of power changed in only two state legislatures, both flipping to the Republican party: New Hampshire’s state senate and Alaska’s state house.

As with legislative activities at the federal level, 2020 started out with a flood of new state bills. NAIA worked successfully with many of our friends in several states in early 2020. By early spring, however, many legislatures had reduced their hours and/or lawmakers had begun working remotely, interrupting and in many cases halting legislative action altogether.

One ancillary result of the pandemic appears to be a decreased appetite for “feel good” and controversial proposals.


Update: The Healthy Dog Importation Act


At the federal level, 2020 was a mixed bag. If you were working to defeat radical legislation aimed at your hobby or business, or were a stock-market aficionado who preferred the status quo, or someone who shared Mark Twain’s libertarian view that “No one’s … safe while the legislature is in session,” 2020 was a banner year, a year when very few bills moved forward.

For the rest of us, though, or at least for those of us engaged in trying to pass needed legislation, 2020 was a giant frustration.

In May, when the Healthy Dog Importation Act was introduced, NAIA and our partners, the AKC and the AVMA, had reason for optimism. The three veterinarians in Congress became co-sponsors, and a long list of widely respected organizations joined in support of our bill.

But like so many 2020 twists and turns, the ink was barely dry on the newly introduced bill when a spike in COVID-19 cases prompted members of Congress to leave Washington, return to their home districts and work remotely. By the time they returned, the election season had descended on Washington. Long story short, very few non-COVID-19-related bills were advanced in 2020.

Despite a rocky start, we remain optimistic about the Healthy Dog Importation Act and are already working for its passage in 2021.  

Compared to the many hardships and tragedies our friends endured this year – the western wildfires, hurricanes, riots, job losses, business closures, illness and even death – our legislative setbacks in 2020 are minor casualties, and ones that we can overcome.

Hang in there, everyone. 2020 is nearly over and vaccines and treatments are on the way.

For information about our work at NAIA and our legislative associate, NAIA Trust, please contact us at, or 503-761-8962


Important Links


The Healthy Dog Importation Act:

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