02/16/10 UPDATE: FLORIDA S318 PASSES COMMITTEE

UPDATE: Florida S318 Passes Committee

Today the Florida Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee held a hearing to consider S318. Despite over 3700 emails generated by the USARK campaign opposing S318 the Florida Senate gave it a favorable rating and passed it out of Committee. USARK is very disappointed that more consideration and debate was not given this bill prior to being passed.

Another bill, S572 sponsored by Committee Chairman Constantine, was also given a favorable rating and passed out of Committee with little debate. Apparently text of this bill was not complete until late last night, and was not available for review prior to the Committee hearing. This bill is reported to address stricter penalties for violation Reptiles of Concern (ROC) statutes, as well as permits for dealers making internet sales into the state of Florida.

USARK is very concerned that these two bills passed with so little consideration and debate. We urge the Florida Senate to heed the recommendations of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and the ROC TAG Committee commissioned to provide viable solutions. Currently we believe these bills represent the potential for economic and environmental disaster for the State of Florida. Hopefully a constructive dialogue can be engaged and a more pragmatic bill be substituted prior to a floor vote.

USARK will continue to engage the bill sponsors, Committee Leadership and Committee Staff to protect the rights of Florida Keepers to own and trade reptiles legally.