Friday, April 29, 2011

Coming Home to Roost: An Educational Program About Initiative 1130

Yesterday (Thursday) The Lovely Wife and I went to Stoel Rives for a Continuing Legal Education program concerning the upcoming Initiative 1130, an anti-animal cruelty measure. This event, hosted by the WSBA Animal Law Section, is something I learned about from my 4freeCLE blog; one of the advantages of writing regularly on a topic is that you may learn about local events relevant to that topic. Otherwise, I doubt I would have hearn of this meeting, since WSBA Sections tend to advertize mostly among their existing members; there are institutional barriers against casting a wider net of publicity.
The speaker was Jennifer Hillman, Western Regional Director for The Humane Society of the United States, who did a pretty good job of explaining the intent of the initiative and the legal and political forces at play. I enjoyed the discussion, which put this initiative in the context of similar actions in other states, while explaining the justification for the proposedchange in law.
This event was the sort of thing that could bring lawyers and non-lawyers together in a fruitful conversation, both in executing existing law and in changing the law itself.  Most CLE preserves the distinction between professional and client,  problematic when it comes to making democracy work. Each group needs the other to help understand proposed legislation!
I commend Stoel Rives for providing space for this event, and hope that something similar could be organized for all initiatives. And I congratulate the WSBA Animal Law Section for a good event!

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