BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                      AB 96


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          Date of Hearing:  March 25, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


          AB  
          96 (Atkins) - As Introduced January 7, 2015


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           Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  YesReimbursable:   
                                         No


          


          SUMMARY:










                                                                      AB 96


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          This bill, as of July 1, 2016, prohibits the importation or sale  
          of elephant or rhinoceros horn in California.  Specifically,  
          this bill:  


          1)Prohibits a person from purchasing, selling, offering for  
            sale, possessing with intent to sell, or importing with intent  
            to sell, ivory or rhinoceros horn, with specified exceptions.  
            Presumes ivory or rhinoceros horns possessed in retail or  
            wholesale outlets constitute possession with intent to sell.

          2)Exempts from the above prohibition all of the following:
               a)     State or federal employees undertaking a law  
                 enforcement activity and specified activities authorized  
                 by federal law.
               b)     Documented Musical Instruments manufactured before  
                 1975 containing less than 
                 20%  ivory or rhinoceros horn or bonafide 100 year or  
                 older antiques containing less than 5% ivory or  
                 rhinoceros horn.  

          3)Authorizes the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to permit  
            the purchase, sale, possession or importation of ivory or  
            rhinoceros horn for educational or scientific purposes as  
            specified. 

          4)Authorizes increased criminal penalties for first violations  
            ranging from $1,000 to $40, 000, or imprisonment in county  
            jail for 30 days to one year, or both, depending on the value  
            of the prohibited product.



          5)Authorizes increased criminal penalties for subsequent  
            violations from $5,000 to $50,000 or an amount equal to two  
            times the total value of the product (whichever is greater),  
            or imprisonment in county jail for one year, or both depending  
            on the value of the prohibited product.









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          6)Authorizes DFW to impose prescribed civil penalties or  
            administrative fines up to $10,000 in addition to any criminal  
            penalties.

          7)Authorizes the payment of a reward of up to $500 to any person  
            providing information leading to a conviction or entry of  
            judgment.



          FISCAL EFFECT:


          1)Increased one-time GF costs to DFW for staffing start-up and  
            equipment purchases of up to $1.7 million.


          2)Increased on-going GF costs to DFW of over $1 million  
            annually.


          3)Unknown,  potential increased revenue resulting from increased  
            penalties and enforcement activities.


          Implementation of this bill will require DFW to lead enforcement  
          efforts, develop the forensic capacity to analyze evidence of  
          violations, and develop and implement administrative hearings  
          and civil penalties.   It is unknown how many violations exist,  
          and to what extend the new law will result in further compliance  
          or force underground sales.


          COMMENTS:


          1)Rationale.  Current law, (Chapter 692, Statutes of 1976)  








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            prohibits the importation of any elephant body, body part or  
            product for commercial purposes.  Violation of this  
            prohibition is punishable as a misdemeanor subject to either a  
            fine of $1,000 to $5,000, or imprisonment in county jail for  
            up to six months, or both.   


            This law also contained uncodified provisions including an  
            exemption to allow the sale of elephant bodies, body parts or  
            products that were imported prior to 1977.  Uncodified law  
            also places the burden of proof on the defendant to  
            demonstrate items were legally imported prior to 1977.   


            According to the author, allowing ivory possessed and acquired  
            prior to June 1, 1977, to be sold makes it virtually  
            impossible to enforce the ban since it is difficult to  
            determine the age of ivory.  Additionally, although the burden  
            of proof is placed on the defendant, it is uncodified law and  
            rarely applied in court.  Further, current law does not  
            expressly apply to rhinoceroses which are also poached for  
            their horns and are imperiled.


            This bill addresses the limitations of existing law by: a)  
            repealing the exemption for ivory possessed or imported prior  
            to 1977; b) codifying the burden of proof provision; c)  
            expressly including rhinoceroses in the prohibition; and d)  
            increasing penalties.


          2)Background.   The United States is the second largest market  
            for ivory in the world after China. California provides the  
            second largest market in the U.S. after  NewYork.


            Previous surveys identify Los Angeles and San Francisco as  
            cities with the highest proportions of potentially illegal  
            ivory sales.   A 2014 Study by the Natural Resources Defense  








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            Council (NRDC) identified significant increases in illegal  
            sales and higher incidences, almost double, of recently  
            manufactured ivory from 2006 to 2014.


            Species of both Elephants and Rhino are protected under  
            federal law and considered endangered and imperiled.








          3)Federal Actions and Legislation.  In July 2013, President  
            Obama issued an Executive Order committing the U.S. to  
            increase efforts to combat wildlife trafficking, including  
            illegal commercial trade in elephant ivory. The United States  
            Federal Wildlife Service is currently promulgating new  
            regulations to provide a comprehensive ban.


            Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) and Lindsey Graham  
            (R-S.C.) have introduced S. 27, the Wildlife Trafficking  
            Enforcement Act, to help law enforcement crack down on  
            poachers and transnational criminal organizations by  
            strengthening penalties for wildlife trafficking.


            H.R. 697 by Representative Young (R-Alaska) weakens existing  
            provisions of the African Elephant Conservation Act of 1988 to  
            allow the importation and sale of ivory under various  
            scenarios.


          4)Other States.  Both New York and New Jersey banned ivory trade  
            in 2014.  Other states currently considering adoption of new  
            stronger laws prohibiting commercial trade in ivory include  








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            Hawaii, Florida, Connecticut and Massachusetts.








          


          Analysis Prepared by:Jennifer Galehouse / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081