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AB-527 Importation, possession, or sale of endangered wildlife.(2019-2020)



Current Version: 04/22/19 - Amended Assembly        


AB527:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 22, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 03, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 527


Introduced by Assembly Member Voepel
(Principal coauthor: Senator Caballero)

February 13, 2019


An act to amend Section 653o of the Penal Code, relating to endangered wildlife.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 527, as amended, Voepel. Importation, possession, or sale of endangered wildlife.
Existing law makes it a misdemeanor to import into the state for commercial purposes, to possess with intent to sell, or to sell within the state, the dead body, or a part or product thereof, of a polar bear, leopard, ocelot, tiger, cheetah, jaguar, sable antelope, wolf, zebra, whale, cobra, python, sea turtle, colobus monkey, kangaroo, vicuna, sea otter, free-roaming feral horse, dolphin, porpoise, Spanish lynx, or elephant. Existing law, commencing January 1, 2020, makes it a misdemeanor to import into the state for commercial purposes, to possess with intent to sell, or to sell within the state, the dead body, or a part or product thereof, of a crocodile or alligator.
This bill would delay the commencement of the prohibition on importing into the state for commercial purposes, possessing with intent to sell, or selling within the state, the dead body, or a part or product thereof, of a crocodile or alligator until January 1, 2030. The bill would also require a specified disclosure on all products sold in the state prior to January 1, 2030, failure to do so being punishable as a misdemeanor. By creating a new crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NOYES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Since 1962, the State of Louisiana has proactively protected wild alligators as a precious natural resource and prohibited the hunting of all alligators. In 1973, and through the efforts of the State of Louisiana, the alligator was protected under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). In 1987, the federal ESA removed alligators as an endangered species. Since 1967, the wild alligator population in Louisiana alone has grown from 100,000 to more than 1.5 million. Crocodilian populations are now at historic highs, as female crocodilians remain reproductive for up to 46 years past the onset of sexual maturity.
(b) A global body of public policy to protect wild alligators and crocodiles has culminated in the development of sustainable farming practices for the species within 184 countries and coordinated by the United Nations under the international Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) treaty. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service agency has specifically trained experts on CITES-protected species and enforcement of federal law at ports of entry to protect against any unauthorized animal products from entering into the United States.
(c) The State of Louisiana’s efforts in support of alligator conservation is now lauded by CITES officials and others globally as a highly successful model to be followed for protecting other species. Eighty percent of Louisiana’s alligator habitat is privately owned and the privately held habitats cumulatively total more than 2 million acres. The economic viability of sustainable farming of alligators and crocodiles directly creates economic incentives to preserve private habitat areas and to protect against land development that would jeopardize these natural habitats.
(d) Protecting the survival of other species of animals from predatory alligators requires diligent monitoring of populations and wild habitat areas by state fish and game officials in collaboration with sustainable farming interests. The symbiotic relationship between sustainable farming practices and habitat preservation efforts has resulted in a more than 600 percent increase in the survival rates of wild alligators.
(e) Research into the resilient immune systems of alligators and crocodiles has led to the development of a new source of an array of life-saving and quality-of-life-improving medicines for humans and agricultural applications vbc . applications. These new medicines serve to defend against drug-resistant strains of serious viruses and bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), staph infections, serious sexually transmitted diseases, osteoarthritis, E. coli, meningitis, salmonella, West Nile virus, and pneumonia.
(f) Shortly after receiving federal protection, California law was changed to prohibit commercially available alligator products at a later date. The date on which the sale of crocodile products would be prohibited has been extended three times, and is currently January 1, 2020.
(g) Conservationists, biologists, and numerous state departments of fish and wildlife now express grave concern over California’s impending ban on the commercial availability of alligator and crocodile products. Each time the date of California’s ban approaches, there is substantial economic disruption of international trade and commerce, of consumer choice, and market balance.
(h) Additionally, California’s ban on commercial availability of alligator and crocodile products would impede the ability of seriously ill patients from receiving life-saving medicines, especially in at-risk communities.
(i) In light of the extensive conservation successes and sustainable global farming practices, and in consideration of the life-saving medicines that are derived from alligator and crocodile immune systems, it is wholly appropriate that the impending ban on the commercial availability of alligator and crocodile products be delayed.

SEC. 2.

 Section 653o of the Penal Code is amended to read:

653o.
 (a) It is unlawful to import into this state for commercial purposes, to possess with intent to sell, or to sell within the state, the dead body, or a part or product thereof, of a polar bear, leopard, ocelot, tiger, cheetah, jaguar, sable antelope, wolf (Canis lupus), zebra, whale, cobra, python, sea turtle, colobus monkey, kangaroo, vicuna, sea otter, free-roaming feral horse, dolphin or porpoise (Delphinidae), Spanish lynx, or elephant.
(b) (1) Commencing January 1, 2030, it is unlawful to import into this state for commercial purposes, to possess with intent to sell, or to sell within the state, the dead body, or a part or product thereof, of a crocodile or alligator.
(2) This subdivision does not authorize the importation or sale of an animal, or the products thereof, that are listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act, or to allow the importation or sale of an animal, or the products thereof, in violation of federal law or international treaty to which the United States is a party.
(3) A product sold in this state prior to January 1, 2030, that is made, in whole or in part, from alligators or crocodiles shall be accompanied by a disclosure that reads as follows: “This product was made using materials that were sourced in full compliance with the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).”
(c) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) or imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed six months, or both that fine and imprisonment, for each violation.
(d) The prohibitions against importation for commercial purposes, possession with intent to sell, and sale of the species listed in this section are severable. A finding of the invalidity of one or more prohibitions shall not affect the validity of any remaining prohibitions.

SEC. 3.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.