Today's Law As Amended

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AB-1453 Protection of orcas: unlawful activities.(2015-2016)

As Amends the Law Today


 Section 4502 is added to the Fish and Game Code, to read:

 This section shall be known, and may be cited, as the California Orca Protection Act.
(a) It is unlawful for any person to do any of the following:
(1) (A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B) and subdivision (c), hold in captivity an orca, whether wild-caught or captive-bred, for any purpose, including, but not limited to, display, performance, or entertainment purposes.
(B) An orca located in the state on the effective date of this act may continue to be held in captivity for its current purpose until June 1, 2017, and thereafter may be used only for educational presentations.
(2) Breed or impregnate any orca held in captivity in the state.
(3) Export, collect, or import the semen, other gametes, or embryos of an orca held in captivity for the purpose of artificial insemination.
(4) Export, transport, move, or sell an orca located in the state to another state or country unless otherwise authorized by federal law or if the transfer is to another facility within North America that meets standards comparable to those provided under the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. Sec. 2131 et seq.).
(b) A person, corporation, or institution that intentionally or negligently violates subdivision (a) is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
(c) This section does not apply to an orca that is held by a bona fide educational or scientific institution for rehabilitation after a rescue or stranding or for research purposes. However, the department shall be notified immediately upon the rescue or acquisition of any orca, and an orca that is held for rehabilitation or research purposes shall be returned to the wild whenever possible. If return to the wild is not possible, the orca may be used for educational presentations, but shall not be used for breeding, performance, or entertainment purposes.
(d) As used in this section, the following terms are defined as follows:
(1) “Educational presentation” means a live, scheduled orca display in the presence of spectators that includes natural behaviors, enrichment, exercise activities, and a live narration and video content that provides science-based education to the public about orcas.
(2) “Orca” means a killer whale (Orcinus orca).
(3) “Bona fide educational or scientific institution” means an institution that establishes through documentation either of the following:
(A) Educational or scientific tax exemption, from the federal Internal Revenue Service or the institution’s national, state, or local tax authority.
(B) Accreditation as an educational or scientific institution, from a qualified national, regional, state, or local authority for the institution’s location.
(C) Accreditation by a nationally or internationally recognized zoological or aquarium accreditation organization.
(e)  The provisions of this section are severable. If any provision of this section or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.
SEC. 2.
  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.
SEC. 3.
 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
In order to ensure the protection of orcas at the earliest possible time, it is necessary that this act take effect immediately.