USARK ALERT: LouisianaLacey Act amendments regarding injurious species are included in a report from the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party.

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USARK ALERT: Louisiana

House Committee Report with Lacey Act Amendments.

 After hearing the concerns from herpetoculturists, the Commissioners voted to table the proposal (meaning it did not pass and will be heard at a later date).

USARK Alert: Last NARBC of 2023 This weekend in St. Louis
USARK: Lacey Act Amendments Included in House Report
Captive Wildlife Permit Rules Changed In Florida

ALERT: Louisiana

UPDATE 3/7/24: After hearing the concerns from herpetoculturists, the Commissioners voted to table the proposal (meaning it did not pass and will be heard at a later date). Thank you to those who submitted comments and especially those who could make it today to speak at the hearing. Staff was directed to collect more information and bring this issue back to the Commission in a few months. We will post updates as they become available.

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Get full details at https://usark.org/24_la/.

ALERT: Arizona Warrantles Animal Seizure Authority

UPDATE 2/15/24: The Arizona warrantless seizure bill was on today’s agenda for the Senate Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committee but it was not heard. Basically, it was tabled/held with no vote due to overwhelming public opposition. Thank you to everyone who submitted comments and made legislators aware of the unintended consequences of this bill.

Two Arizona Senators have introduced bills that will allow for warrantless seizure of animals and private property. Remember, warrants protect us from unreasonable governmental intrusion. As if that isn’t bad enough, the bills read that, “The formal rules of evidence do not apply and reliable hearsay is admissible in the postseizure hearing.”

There is much more wrong with the bill such as committing class warfare against lower-income families who cannot afford court, required bonds, or impound fees. Most Americans could not afford the attorney fees if they chose to challenge one of these seizures. The bills allow for too much subjectivity in assessing the welfare of the animals in question and do not provide for any checks or balances against the agencies in charge. Other states have already witnessed the seizure and killing of healthy animals when authorities get too much power.

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Get more details, contact information, and a sample letter at https://usark.org/24az/.

ALERT: Colorado Pet Tax on ALL Animals – Postponed Indefinitely by Sponsor

UPDATE: After receiving overwhelming opposition from concerned Coloradans and animal welfare and interest organizations, the bill sponsor heard the opposition loud and clear and pulled the bill. Thank you to everyone who opposed this pet tax and informed legislators about its unjust consequences!

Colorado House Bill 24-1163 enters a new level of big government and big taxes. The bill will add a new tax of up to $8.50 (but actually up to $25) on EACH pet and it includes ALL animals, even invertebrates. The tax is paid every year. It also requires every pet to be registered with the State and assigned a “designated caregiver.” If you do not name a “designated caregiver,” the cost for each pet is $25 annually.

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To summarize how outrageous that is, if someone has 100 aquarium fish, they could be paying $850 annually to have aquariums. If you do not register a “designated caregiver” with the State that means having 100 aquarium fish will cost you $2,500 annually! Ten pet reptiles will cost $85 to $250 annually. 20 assorted pets (dog, cat, hamster, parakeet, tarantula, 2 snakes, three frogs, and 10 fish) would be $170-$500 each year for this new tax. This tax would apply to koi and goldfish in outside ponds, backyard chickens (unless on a bona fide farm or ranch), and all other “pet animals.” (definition can be found at the link below)

The new “online pet animal registration system” will be created and maintained by the Department of Agriculture. The penalty for not registering your animals is up to $100 per animal (“per unlawful act or violation”). If a good citizen is unaware of this new law, those 100 unregistered aquarium or water garden fish could cost $10,000 in fines!

Get more information and full details at https://usark.org/24co/.

ALERT: Washington Animal Program Ban

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UPDATE: These bills are dead for the year as they failed to be assigned hearings and clear Commitee before the cutoff date. Due to the many stakeholders who voiced their opposition, the bills were unfavorable in the legislature. Thank you to everyone who engaged and opposed these bills!

SB5148 has been introduced again in Washington. It is the same bill number as in 2023 because it was reintroduced and retained in its present status. It is exactly the same as last year. This bill bans programs with thousands of species including ALL “snakes and reptiles,” ferrets, sugar gliders, and more.

The bill prohibits any exhibition of animals that provide entertainment, which means even outreach and educational programs will be banned. Unsuspecting Washingtonians do not know this is a ban on educational programs in classrooms, public libraries, at Scout Troop meetings, and anywhere else for that matter because the stated intent is misleading.

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More details at www.usark.org/24wa.
Watch the ALERT video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLJDfdJVLKU.

ALERT: Florida

UPDATE: This bill is dead! Thank you to everyone who supported USARK FL in the efforts to keep this from passing!

HB1033 seeks to expand the ban on green iguanas (Iguana iguana) to include all iguana species. This would mean that rock iguanas, spiny-tailed iguanas, rhinoceros iguanas, and all other species would be prohibited species. It does this by changing the statute from reading “Green Iguana (Iguana iguana)” to just “Iguana.”

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The bill would also ban the sales of dogs and cats in pet shops. HB1033 was introduced by Representative Sam Killebrew. The bill was profiled and has not yet been assigned to a Committee. The Florida legislative session begins on January 9, 2024. The bill would take effect on take effect July 1, 2024.

Be sure to follow USARK Florida for updates on this bill. Read their current post at https://usarkfl.wildapricot.org/news/13295074.

USARK FL Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/usarkfl

USARK FL website: https://usarkfl.wildapricot.org/

House Committee Report with Lacey Act Amendments

Lacey Act amendments regarding injurious species are included in a report from the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. It is titled, Reset, Prevent, Build: A Strategy to Win America’s Economic Competition with the Chinese Communist Party. This is not exactly the title of a document where these Lacey Act amendments would be expected and the inclusion is not germane to the report’s purpose regarding U.S.-China trade issues.

Get more information at https://usark.org/23laceyhousereport/.

South Carolina H4874

Representative Hixon has introduced H4874 which is a bill that creates Chapter 17 under Title 50 of the SC Code. Reading the bill is quite alarming but please allow us to explain the intent of the bill. Briefly, the bill will allow the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) to create a permit system for wildlife rehabilitators, educators, exhibitors, and researchers. If the bill passes, SCDNR will then begin its rulemaking process to write the actual regulation.

Any persons working with native mammals (and likely birds of prey) should follow the process, contact legislators and SCDNR with concerns/comments/input, and take part in the process. If you want to become an official wildlife rehabilitator, educator, exhibitor, or researcher in South Carolina with native species (excluding native herps which are exempt as they have their own regulation), then take part in this process.

Read more at https://usark.org/24sc/.

Find A Vet

Need a good herp veterinarian? The Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV) can help. ARAV provides a free Find-A-Vet service at http://arav.site-ym.com/search/custom.asp?id=3661.

USARK Shirts and Hats are Available Online

Our shop is open at https://usark.org/shop/ (or just click the “Shop” link in the menu on our website). We currently have two shirts and three hats available for sale.