The Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) held a business meeting on Dec. 10 in reference to Senate Bill 373. Committee Chair Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Ranking Member Senator James Inhofe, R-Okla., presided. After brief statements the committee held a mark up session on S. 373, to amend title 18, United States Code, to add constrictor snakes of the species Python genera to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. Senator Inhofe expressed concerns about the bill. Senator Ben Cardin D-Md., offered an amendment to limit the scope of the bill to only the nine snakes addressed in the United States Geological Survey (USGS) report on large constrictors. Senator Cardin further agreed to work with Senator Inhofe to improve the bill prior to a vote on the Senate floor. The amendment was passed by voice vote.
S. 373 has now passed committee. It cannot become law until it is voted on and passed by the full Senate and House of Representatives. There is still much work to be done prior to the Python Ban becoming law. S. 373 in its current form is unacceptable to the United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK) and the Reptile Nation. We will continue to work with Senator Inhofe, Senator Cardin and the EPW Committee staff to shape the future of this bill. Please make an appointment to visit with your Senator and express your concerns about S. 373. Everyone needs to step up and make contact with your Senator. Let USARK know about your meeting. It is time to step up our game and show Washington we are serious about this. Continue the good fight. The Reptile Nation thanks Senator Inhofe for his even handed treatment of our industry.
Following is the statement of Ranking Member Senator James Inhofe:
Regarding S. 373, which is designed to ban the import and export of certain constrictor snakes, I believe we need to follow the process already established, which allows stakeholders to have input. Commonsense reforms are needed to prevent the proliferation, importation or breeding of species that would be harmful to ecosystems or human health and safety. We are setting a dangerous precedent of continuing to address these species outside of normal agency channels. Although I will not be offering an amendment today, I will support efforts on the floor to mitigate the negative effects to those snake owners and breeders who legally acquired their snakes, but through no fault of their own now find that their property is worth nothing.
S. 373 has been amended to only include:
Broghammeras [Python] reticulatus
Andrew Wyatt is the President of the United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK) and has been an avid herp enthusiast for more than 35 years. He has traveled the world and has had his animals featured in a number of television productions. For more information about USARK,click here.
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