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More bills to watch in legislature -- horns

Special Report by Bill Gaines, Gaines & Associates
03/16/15 -- The 2015 Session of the California State Legislature is finally nearing full speed. This Gaines & Associates “Special Report” will provide you with all you need to know regarding the positive bills we are working on behalf of our clients, as well as what challenges California’s hunting and wildlife conservation community will face this year.

Bills are placed in numerical order. To view the text and/or associated information of any of the bills below, simply click on the bill number and author in blue.

This “Special Report” is provided as a service to Gaines & Associates clients. For more information on any of the below bills, please contact Gaines & Associates at

This bill would prohibit a person from purchasing, selling, offering for sale, importing or possessing with intent to sell any ivory or rhinoceros horn.

Current law allows the possession with intent to sell, any part or product of an elephant – including ivory – if the item was imported before June 1, 1977. This bill would delete that exemption, and further prohibit the importation, purchase, sale, or possession for sale of any ivory from any source – including anything made from or containing tooth or tusk of hippopotamus, mammoth, walrus, whale, or narwhal.

AB 96 allows for very few exceptions, but would exempt ivory or rhinoceros horn that is part of a musical instrument, but only if it is less than 20% by volume of the instrument and the owner or seller can provide historical documentation demonstrating origin and that the antique is more than 100 years old.

The primary author of AB 96 is the Speaker of the Assembly, Assembly Member Toni Atkins (D/78-San Diego), and the bill has numerous co-authors in the Assembly and Senate. The bill is backed by the Humane Society of the United States and numerous animal-welfare organizations.

AB 96 became the first animal-related bill brought up for hearing in the 2015 Session of the State Legislature when it was heard in the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee on March 10th. With a tidal wave of over 70 individuals and organizations testifying in support, the bill easily passed out of Committee on a 10 to 2 party-line vote, with 3 Republicans – Assembly Members Bigelow, Dahle and Mathis – not voting. Gaines & Associates testified on behalf of many of our clients, and was one of only four to testify in opposition to the bill.

In our testimony, Gaines & Associates pointed out that poachers who illegally kill these species, and those who participate in their trafficking, do so for their financial gain. Prohibiting the legal trading of ivory and rhinoceros horn will only increase the black market value and trade of these products and, in turn, incentivize (not curtail) the illegal poaching and wildlife trafficking of these species. In our testimony, we also noted that nearly every household in California has ivory, in some form, in it – with many of these items having been passed down through families for generations, and others legally purchased as an investment intended for future sale. Gaines & Associates stated that because AB 96 would prohibit the legal sale of any of these items, it would fully diminish their financial value – resulting in the government taking of private property without just compensation.

The bill will next be heard in Assembly Appropriations Committee later this spring.

To view the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee consultant’s analysis of AB 96, click AB 96 - AWPW Committee Analysis

For a copy of the opposition letter Gaines & Associates filed on behalf of some of our clients, contact us at

Gaines & Associates is active wherever decisions are being made which may impact wildlife conservation, your outdoor traditions, your outdoor investment or your rural lifestyle. Gaines and Associates keeps clients current on all issues of concern at all political levels via their “Issues and Status Reports” which are released to clients on a regular “as necessary” basis. For more information on other issues, or how Gaines and Associates can also help you protect your outdoor investment and interests, contact them at

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