BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          AB 1453 (Bloom) - Protection of orcas: unlawful activities
          
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |                                                                 |
          |                                                                 |
          |                                                                 |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |--------------------------------+--------------------------------|
          |                                |                                |
          |Version: August 10, 2016        |Policy Vote:  Unknown           |
          |                                |                                |
          |--------------------------------+--------------------------------|
          |                                |                                |
          |Urgency: Yes                    |Mandate: Yes                    |
          |                                |                                |
          |--------------------------------+--------------------------------|
          |                                |                                |
          |Hearing Date: August 11, 2016   |Consultant: Narisha Bonakdar    |
          |                                |                                |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          
          This bill does not meet the criteria for referral to the  
          Suspense File.


          Bill  
          Summary:  AB 1453 prohibits the breeding of orcas in captivity;  
          prohibits orcas, other than those currently in captivity, from  
          being held in captivity; and prohibits use of orcas for purposes  
          of display, performance or entertainment, with specified  
          exceptions.  


          Fiscal  
          Impact:  Minor and absorbable costs to the Department of Fish  
          and Wildlife.  The department already conducts site visits at  
          SeaWorld, and the department's existing restricted species  
          program can add the new restrictions and maintain documentation  
          provided by SeaWorld.  


        Background:1)  The federal Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) prohibits the  
          take of any whale species without specific authorization.   
          However, a limited number of permits may be issued for the take  
          of a whale from the wild for a limited number of purposes,  







          AB 1453 (Rendon)                                       Page 1 of  
          ?
          
          
          including for scientific research, for purpose of public  
          display, or for enhancing the survival or recovery of specific  
          stocks.  Authorization can also be given for incidental take of  
          marine mammals in the course of conducting certain activities.   
          The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is responsible for  
          enforcement of the MMPA.  

          Existing law also governs captive care, handling, treatment and  
          transportation of marine mammals held for public display, and  
          maintenance of marine mammal exhibits, under the federal Animal  
          Welfare Act. The Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant  
          Health Inspection Service is responsible for enforcement of the  
          Animal Welfare Act.  




          Proposed Law:  
            This bill:
          1)Makes it unlawful for any person to do any of the following:
               a)     To hold an orca in captivity, whether wild-caught or  
                 captive-bred, for purposes of display, performance or  
                 entertainment.  Allows an orca currently being held in  
                 captivity in the state to continue to be held in  
                 captivity and to be used for the purpose of educational  
                 presentations until its death.
               b)     To breed or impregnate any orca in captivity in the  
                 state.
               c)     To export, collect or import the semen, gametes, or  
                 embryos of an orca held in captivity for the purpose of  
                 artificial insemination.
               d)     To export, transport, move or sell an orca located  
                 in the state to another state or country unless  
                 authorized by federal law.  Permits the transfer of an  
                 orca to another facility in North America that meets  
                 standards comparable to those in the Animal Welfare Act.
          2)Makes any person who intentionally or negligently violates any  
            of the above prohibitions guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable  
            by a fine not to exceed $100,000.
          3)Provides that this section does not apply to an orca that is  
            held for rehabilitation after a rescue or stranding, or for  
            research purposes.  Requires an orca that is held for  
            rehabilitation or research to be returned to the wild whenever  
            possible, and if return to the wild is not possible, prohibits  








          AB 1453 (Rendon)                                       Page 2 of  
          ?
          
          
            such an orca from being used for breeding, performance or  
            entertainment purposes.
          4)Defines "educational presentation" for purposes of this bill  
            to mean live, scheduled orca display in the presence of  
            spectators that includes natural behaviors, enrichment and  
            exercise activities and provides live narration and video  
            content providing science-based education to the public about  
            orcas.
          5)Includes a severability clause, providing that if any of the  
            provisions of this bill are found to be invalid that the  
            invalidity shall not affect the other provisions. 


          Related  
          Legislation:  AB 2305 (Bloom, 2016) prohibits the breeding of  
          orcas in captivity; prohibits orcas, other than those currently  
          in captivity, from being held in captivity; and prohibits use of  
          orcas for purposes of display, performance or entertainment  
          purposes, with specified exceptions.  This bill was heard in  
          Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee, but was withdrawn  
          to Rules Committee.


          Staff  
          Comments:  This bill prohibits captive breeding of orcas in  
          California, and would allow the orcas that are currently being  
          held in captivity in the state to continue to live out their  
          lives in captivity.  This language codifies SeaWorld's recently  
          announced decision to stop captive breeding of orcas, and to  
          transition their public orca programs away from an entertainment  
          or performance focus, and toward more science-based educational  
          presentations.





                                      -- END --

          
          











          AB 1453 (Rendon)                                       Page 3 of  
          ?