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SB-376 Wildlife: prohibitions on possession, transportation, and importation of wild animals: live animal markets.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 03/04/2021 09:00 PM
SB376:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  March 04, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 376


Introduced by Senator Stern

February 10, 2021


An act to amend Section 1 of the Fish and Game Code, relating to fish and wildlife. An act to amend Sections 2119, 2120, 2150, 2150.2, and 2271 of, and to add Sections 391.5 and 2273 to, the Fish and Game Code, and to amend Section 597.3 of the Penal Code, relating to wildlife.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 376, as amended, Stern. Fish and Game Code: name change. Wildlife: prohibitions on possession, transportation, and importation of wild animals: live animal markets.
(1) Existing law authorizes the Department of Fish and Wildlife to exchange or release to any appropriate federal, state, or local agency or agencies in other states, for purposes of law enforcement, any information collected or maintained by the department under any provision of the Fish and Game Code or any regulation adopted pursuant to this code.
This bill would require the Director of Fish and Wildlife, or a designated representative, to coordinate with and cooperate on wildlife trafficking with authorized representatives of the States of Oregon, Washington, and any other state. The bill would provide that these efforts shall include, but are not limited to, notification of wildlife trafficking violations observed in this state, and any potential emerging zoonotic disease risk associated with wildlife.
(2) Existing law prohibits the importation, transportation, possession, or live release of listed wild animals, except under a revocable, nontransferable permit. Existing law permits the Fish and Game Commission, by regulation, and in cooperation with the Department of Food and Agriculture, to add or delete wild animals from the listed wild animals that are in addition to those listed by statute. Existing law requires the Department of Fish and Wildlife to publish, from time to time as changes arise, a list of animals that may not be imported or transported into this state. Under existing law, any violation of the Fish and Game Code, or of any rule, regulation, or order made or adopted under this code, is a crime.
This bill would delete the requirement for the department to publish the list and would instead require the department, no later than December 31, 2022, to establish a list of wild animals that may not be possessed or transported within this state, or imported into this state. The bill would require the department to add and delete wild animals from this list in accordance with specified criteria. Because a violation of this provision would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(3) Existing law requires the Fish and Game Commission, in cooperation with the Department of Food and Agriculture, to adopt regulations governing both (A) the entry, importation, possession, transportation, keeping, confinement, or release of any and all wild animals that will be or that have been imported into this state, and (B) the possession of all other wild animals. Existing law requires the regulations to be designed to prevent damage to the native wildlife or agricultural interests of this state resulting from the existence at large of these wild animals, and to provide for the welfare of wild animals and the safety of the public.
This bill would require the Department of Fish and Wildlife to immediately suspend any authorization to import a wild animal species into the state when the Director of Fish and Wildlife makes a written finding that the scientific evidence suggests zoonotic transmission from this species, or a closely related species within the same family, could be responsible for a novel, or not previously reported, readily transmissible human disease in order to protect the public health and safety, native wildlife, and agricultural interests of this state. The bill would prohibit the department from authorizing the importation of any individual animals of a wild animal species that could be responsible for zoonotic transmission of a readily transmissible human disease until a protocol for robust testing, effective treatment, or quarantine, as provided, is implemented to ensure that all individual animals subject to an authorization are not carriers.
(4) Existing law exempts any university, college, governmental research agency, or other bona fide scientific institution, as specified, engaging in scientific or public health research from any permit requirement for the importation, transportation, and sheltering of restricted live wild animals except for animals whose importation, transportation, or possession is determined by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, in cooperation with the Department of Food and Agriculture, to be detrimental or cause damage to agriculture, native wildlife, or the public health or safety.
This bill would authorize the department to issue a restricted species permit for a live wild animal prohibited from importation or transportation into the state on a case-by-case basis to a university, college, governmental research agency, or other bona fide scientific institution conducting bona fide medical or scientific research, as determined by the department, that cannot otherwise be conducted without the live wild animal. The bill would require, for a live wild animal that could be responsible for zoonotic transmission of a readily transmissible human disease, as provided, the department to require the applicant to demonstrate biosafety equipment and protocols necessary to safely handle that live wild animal.
(5) Existing law requires the Department of Fish and Wildlife to establish fees for permits, permit applications, and facility inspections in amounts sufficient to cover the costs of administering, implementing, and enforcing provisions of law governing the importation, transportation, and sheltering of restricted live wild animals.
This bill would require the department, at least once every 5 years, to analyze and, as necessary, adjust those fees to meet the requirements of this provision.
(6) Existing law prohibits the importation of a live aquatic plant or animal into this state without the prior written approval of the Department of Fish and Wildlife pursuant to regulations adopted by the Fish and Game Commission, except as specified.
This bill would require the department to adjust the amount of the fees adopted by the commission for importation permits for a live aquatic plant or animal, as necessary, to fully recover, but not exceed, all reasonable administrative and implementation costs of the department and the commission relating to these permits.
(7) Existing law prohibits a person who operates a live animal market from engaging in specified practices, including confining or displaying an animal in a manner that is likely to result in injury. Existing law defines a “live animal market” as a retail food market where frogs, turtles, and birds other than poultry are stored alive and sold to consumers for purposes of human consumption. Existing law imposes specified warnings and fines for a violation of these provisions.
This bill would prohibit a person who operates a live animal market from storing or selling an animal that is a known or likely invasive species or that is of a taxa known or likely to be responsible for zoonotic transmission of a disease, as determined by the Fish and Game Commission. The bill would require the commission to adopt regulations governing the storing and sale of animals for live animal markets. By creating a new crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The bill instead would require a violation of these provisions to be an infraction with a specified fine and would extend the statute of limitations for the prosecution of a violation of these prohibitions relating to live animal markets from one to 3 years.
(8) 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.

Existing law establishes the Fish and Game Code.

This bill would rename the Fish and Game Code as the Fish and Wildlife Code and would require that any reference to the Fish and Game Code in that code or any other code means the Fish and Wildlife Code.

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) Infectious diseases cause about one-quarter of human deaths. Of these deaths, almost 60 percent are from zoonotic diseases and over 70 percent of these zoonoses are from wildlife. Trade of wildlife has led to novel zoonotic pathogens that threaten human and animal health, food security and production, and biological diversity with implications for economic stability. Experts, including from the World Health Organization, agree that future human pandemics will likely be caused by wildlife and be zoonotic in nature. In the last 40 years, the worst pandemics were all zoonotic or vector in origin, including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), avian influenza, swine influenza, Ebola virus, and Zika virus. The three epidemic and pandemic level coronavirus outbreaks in the last two decades (SARS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and COVID-19) were likely caused by transmission between two animal species followed by transmission to humans with cases initially spreading due to multiple species in close contact with each other and humans simultaneously.
(b) The COVID-19 pandemic has already resulted in the deaths of over 500,000 Americans and hundreds of thousands more worldwide with severe economic repercussions for the state, the country, and the world.
(c) Ensuring the state is prepared to rapidly respond to potential carrier species imports will provide additional protection to viral spread.
(d) Wildlife are usually possessed in the state under the authority of a permit issued by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, among others. While that permit may include some form of health certification, it is unclear that the current processes in practice incorporate or identify all likely diseases that represent risks to humans and wildlife. Existing law provides that diseased wild animals may be destroyed, quarantined, or otherwise treated. The Veterinary Public Health Section of the State Department of Public Health also issues permits for certain species of wildlife imported into the state.
(e) The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need to review existing practices to ensure that wildlife imported into or possessed in the state do not present a risk of disease to humans or wildlife. Coordination and cooperation with other states, and, as appropriate, their wildlife and public health agencies, can also help to reduce this risk.

SEC. 2.

 Section 391.5 is added to the Fish and Game Code, to read:

391.5.
 The director, or a designated representative, shall coordinate with and cooperate on wildlife trafficking with authorized representatives of the States of Oregon, Washington, and any other state. These efforts shall include, but are not limited to, notification of wildlife trafficking violations observed in this state, and any potential emerging zoonotic disease risk associated with wildlife.

SEC. 3.

 Section 2119 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

2119.
 (a) (1) The department shall publish from time to time as changes arise, a list establish a list, no later than December 31, 2022, of wild animals that may not be imported possessed or transported within this state, or imported into this state.
(2) The department shall add a wild animal to this list if it determines that prohibiting the possession, importation, or transportation of the wild animal is necessary to protect public health and safety, native wildlife, or agricultural interests of the state.
(3) The department shall remove a wild animal from this list if it determines that prohibiting the possession, importation, or transportation of the wild animal is not necessary to protect public health and safety, native wildlife, or agricultural interests of the state.
(b) The department may establish the list required by subdivision (a) and any subsequent revision to the list as an emergency regulation. An emergency regulation adopted pursuant to this section shall be adopted by the department in accordance with Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code. The initial adoption of the list, and any subsequent required addition of species under the regulation, is an emergency and shall be considered by the Office of Administrative Law as necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety, and general welfare. Notwithstanding Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, an emergency regulation adopted pursuant to this section by the department shall stay in effect until revised by the department.

SEC. 4.

 Section 2120 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

2120.
 (a) The commission, in cooperation with the Department of Food and Agriculture, shall adopt regulations governing both (1) the entry, importation, possession, transportation, keeping, confinement, or release of any and all wild animals that will be or that have been imported into this state pursuant to this chapter, and (2) the possession of all other wild animals. The regulations shall be designed to prevent damage to the native wildlife or agricultural interests of this state resulting from the existence at large of these wild animals, and to provide for the welfare of wild animals and the health and safety of the public.
(b) The regulations shall also include criteria for all of the following:
(1) The receiving, processing, and issuing of a permit and conducting inspections.
(2) Contracting out inspection activities.
(3) Responding to public reports and complaints.
(4) The notification of the revocation, termination, or denial of permits, and related appeals.
(5) The method by which the department determines that the breeding of wild animals pursuant to a single event breeding permit for exhibitor or a breeding permit is necessary and will not result in unneeded or uncared for animals, and the means by which the criteria will be implemented and enforced.
(6) How a responding agency will respond to an escape of a wild animal. This shall include, but not be limited to, the establishment of guidelines for the safe recapture of the wild animal and procedures outlining when lethal force would be used to recapture the wild animal.
(c) These regulations (1) In order to protect public health and safety, native wildlife, or agricultural interests of this state, the department shall immediately suspend any existing authorization and not issue any new authorization to import a wild animal species into the state when the director makes a written finding that the scientific evidence suggests zoonotic transmission from this species, or a closely related species within the same family, could be developed and adopted by the commission on responsible for a novel, or before January 1, 2007. not previously reported, readily transmissible human disease.
(2) The department may take additional measures pursuant to its authority under this chapter related to wild animal species necessary to protect the public health, native wildlife, or agricultural interests of this state from zoonotic transmission of a readily transmissible human disease.
(3) The department shall not authorize importation of any individual animals of a wild animal species that could be responsible for zoonotic transmission of a readily transmissible human disease or transmission of disease to animals until a protocol for robust testing, effective treatment, or quarantine, as appropriate and subject to the requirements of paragraph (5), is implemented to ensure that all individual animals subject to an authorization are not carriers.
(4) The department shall adopt and revise the list required pursuant to Section 2119, as applicable.
(5) In implementing this subdivision, the department shall consult with the State Department of Public Health, including its Veterinary Public Health Section, the department’s Science Institute, as applicable, and other experts to ensure that the implementation is informed by the best available science. Additionally, the department shall coordinate with the State Department of Public Health, including its Veterinary Public Health Section, and other public entities with jurisdiction over wild animals to minimize duplication of regulatory effort and permitting.
(6) This subdivision shall not be interpreted to limit the authority of the department described in any other law with respect to wild animal species.

SEC. 5.

 Section 2150 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

2150.
 (a) (1) The department, in cooperation with the Department of Food and Agriculture, may, upon application, issue a written permit to import into, possess, or transport within this state any wild animal enumerated in, or designated pursuant to, Section 671 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations, upon a determination that the animal is not detrimental or that no damage or detriment can be caused to agriculture, native wildlife, the public health or safety, or the welfare of the animal, as a result of the importation, transportation, or possession.
(2) A permit may be issued to any person only upon application and payment of a nonrefundable application fee in an amount determined by the department pursuant to Section 2150.2. Application forms shall be provided by the department and shall be designed to ascertain the applicant’s ability to properly care for the wild animal or animals the applicant seeks to import, transport, or possess. Proper care includes providing adequate food, shelter, and veterinary care, and other requirements the commission may designate.
(b) The commission or the department shall deny a permit and the commission shall revoke a permit if it finds that a permittee or applicant has failed to meet, or is unable to meet, the requirements for importing, transporting, possessing, or confining any wild animal as established pursuant to Section 2120.
(c) A zoo is exempt from any permit requirement pursuant to this chapter except for animals whose importation, transportation, or possession is determined by the department, in cooperation with the Department of Food and Agriculture, to be detrimental or cause damage to agriculture, native wildlife, or the public health or safety. For purposes of this section, “zoo” means any organization which that is accredited as meeting the standards and requirements of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, now known as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Any California organization which that is not accredited by the AZA may apply to the department for a waiver of specified permit requirements of this chapter. The department may grant or deny the request for a waiver for justified reasons. Foreign zoos outside this state are not subject to the permit requirements of this chapter beyond those specific permit requirements affecting California zoos or organizations with which they are collaborating. Any organization may appeal the determination of the department to the commission.
(d) An exhibitor licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture or a dealer who is so licensed who buys any animal specified in subdivision (c) from a zoo within the state, may sell or transfer it only to a private individual who has a permit issued pursuant to this section prior to the receipt of the animal or to a public or private organization that has a permit issued pursuant to this section prior to the receipt of the animal. The exhibitor or dealer who sells or transfers that animal shall pay a fee pursuant to Section 2150.2 to the department.
(e) (1) Any university, college, governmental research agency, or other bona fide scientific institution, as defined in regulations adopted by the commission, engaging in scientific or public health research is exempt from any permit requirement pursuant to this chapter except for animals whose importation, transportation, or possession is determined by the department, in cooperation with the Department of Food and Agriculture, to be detrimental or cause damage to agriculture, native wildlife, or the public health or safety. safety, or for which paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 2120 may apply.
(2) The department may issue a restricted species permit for a live wild animal prohibited pursuant to Section 2119 on a case-by-case basis to a university, college, governmental research agency, or other bona fide scientific institution conducting bona fide medical or scientific research, that cannot otherwise be conducted without the live wild animal. A restricted species permit shall be consistent with the terms and conditions of regulations adopted pursuant to Section 2119. For a live wild animal that could be responsible for zoonotic transmission of a readily transmissible human disease, as determined pursuant to paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 2120, the department shall require the applicant to demonstrate biosafety equipment and protocols necessary to safely handle that live wild animal.
(f) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, every zoo, university, college, governmental research agency, or other bona fide scientific institution shall comply with the requirements of subdivision (a) of Section 2193 for all animals the zoo, university, college, governmental research agency, or other bona fide scientific institution possesses that are enumerated in, or designated pursuant to, Section 671 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations.

SEC. 6.

 Section 2150.2 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

2150.2.
 The department shall establish fees for permits, permit applications, and facility inspections in amounts sufficient to cover the costs of administering, implementing, and enforcing this chapter. chapter, and shall, consistent with the requirements of Section 713, at least once every five years, analyze and, as necessary, adjust these fees to meet the requirements of this section.

SEC. 7.

 Section 2271 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

2271.
 (a) No A live aquatic plant or animal may shall not be imported into this state without the prior written approval of the department pursuant to regulations adopted by the commission. A written application for the importation, submitted in conformance with the procedural requirements established by the commission, is deemed approved where it has not been denied within 60 days.
(b) This section does not apply to the following plants or animals unless the plants or animals are or may be placed in waters of the state:
(1) Mollusks.
(2) Crustaceans.
(3) Ornamental marine or freshwater plants and animals that are not utilized used for human consumption or bait purposes and are maintained in closed systems for personal, pet industry, or hobby purposes.
(c) The This section does not apply to any live aquatic plant or animal imported by a registered aquaculturist.
(d) The department shall adjust the amount of the fees adopted by the commission pursuant to Section 1050 for importation permits issued pursuant to this section, as necessary, to fully recover, but not exceed, all reasonable administrative and implementation costs of the department and the commission relating to these permits.

SEC. 8.

 Section 2273 is added to the Fish and Game Code, to read:

2273.
 (a) The commission shall adopt regulations governing the storing and sale of animals for live animal markets, as defined in Section 597.3 of the Penal Code.
(b) The regulations shall also identify a list of prohibited animals known or likely to be an invasive species or of a taxa known or likely to be responsible for zoonotic transmission of a disease.

SEC. 9.

 Section 597.3 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

597.3.
 (a) Every person who operates a live animal market shall do all of the following:
(1) Provide that no animal will be dismembered, flayed, cut open, or have its skin, scales, feathers, or shell removed while the animal is still alive.
(2) Provide that no live animals will be confined, held, or displayed in a manner that results, or is likely to result, in injury, starvation, dehydration, or suffocation.
(3) Provide that no animal be a known or likely invasive species or of a taxa known or likely to be responsible for zoonotic transmission of a disease, as determined by the Fish and Game Commission pursuant to Section 2273 of the Fish and Game Code.
(b) As used in this section:
(1) “Animal” means frogs, turtles, and birds sold for the purpose of human consumption, with the exception of poultry.
(2) “Live animal market” means a retail food market where, in the regular course of business, animals are stored alive and sold to consumers for the purpose of human consumption.
(3) “Poultry” has the same meaning as defined in Section 24657 of the Food and Agricultural Code.
(c) Any person who fails to comply with any requirement of subdivision (a) shall for the first violation, be given a written warning in a written language that is understood by the person receiving the warning. A second or subsequent A violation of subdivision (a) shall be an infraction, punishable by a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250), nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). However, a fine paid for a second violation of subdivision (a) shall be deferred for six months if a course is available that is administered by a state or local agency on state law and local ordinances relating to live animal markets. If the defendant successfully completes that course within six months of entry of judgment, the fine shall be waived. The state or local agency may charge the participant a fee to take the course, not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100).
(d) (1) Moneys collected from a fine imposed pursuant to this section shall be apportioned pursuant to Section 13003 of the Fish and Game Code.
(2) Moneys equivalent to 50 percent of the revenue deposited in the Fish and Game Preservation Fund from fines collected pursuant to this section shall be allocated for the support of the Special Operations Unit of the Department of Fish and Wildlife and used for law enforcement purposes.
(e) Notwithstanding Section 802, prosecution of an offense punishable under this section shall be commenced within three years after commission of the offense.

SEC. 10.

 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.
SECTION 1.Section 1 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:
1.

This code shall be known as the Fish and Wildlife Code. Any reference to the Fish and Game Code in this or any other code means the Fish and Wildlife Code.