This is the last installment of states that are working to pass ivory bans. You'll notice that most states originally introduced a bill in 2015, but for one reason or another they didn't pass. Find out if 2016 will be the year for more ivory bans, from Ohio to Vermont.
Ivory Free Ohio has been lobbying hard for an anti-ivory bill, and as of this year has gotten one introduced into Ohio's Senate. Ivory Free Ohio and Sen. Frank LaRose (who sponsors the bill) are pushing for a complete ban of ivory, including fossil ivory, but other parties like the Cleveland Orchestra would like some exemptions added.
Right now the bill is going through the legislative process, and with any luck will pass this year!
Oklahoma's anti-ivory battle failed in 2015 but has since been revisited. House Bill 1787 was first read in the House on Feb. 2, 2015 but didn't make it very far. However, it was introduced on Feb. 18, 2016, which means the battle isn't over. No word yet on its 2016 progress, but I'm hoping for good news!
The bill is standard, prohibiting ivory and rhino horn sales, but allows for the legal inheritance of products as a beneficiary. It also allows for antique items that date over 100 years old and contain 20 percent of ivory or less. From what it sounds like, documentation will be required to prove its legality.
While a 2015 survey revealed that 90 percent of Oregon residents support ivory legislation, no bill has yet been passed. Senate Bill 913 was introduced early last year and went through both the House and Senate, with revisions, but I have no word on its current progress. Updates to come!
Rep. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania (D) and Rep. Mike Vereb (R) drafted an anti-ivory bill for Pennsylvania, House Bill 1537, which was submitted in November. Its progress was originally stalled by being sent to the wrong committee, according to Rep. Dean, but it has now found its way into the House Judiciary Committee, where Vereb and Dean both serve.
If the committee approves the bill, the next step is to get it on the floor agenda. As Dean told me, "What we're trying to do is get some additional co-sponsorship, then pressure to bring the bill up." Good luck Pennsylvania!
"We do have a say and we can stop the madness."
Last year's bill, H-5660, did not make it far. It died in its assigned committee, where legislators decided to hold the matter until more research on the subject could be done.
However, in late February 2016 a bill was introduced in the House, H7669, and was referred to the Judiciary Committee, where it was heard by committee members. It is currently on hold for further study but is sponsored by five representatives. The bill calls for a ban of elephant and mammoth ivory and rhino horn, and prohibits the possession, sale, import, etc. any piece of ivory or ivory product.
The only exceptions are items inherited in a will or trust and those used for educational purposes, although the bill does allow that having an appraisal done on a piece of ivory does not serve as just cause for arrest. No word yet on the bill's progress, so check back for updates!
No information was found when this published. Check back later to see what I've found.
House Bill 297, proposed by Representatives Kurt Wright and Joan Lenes, was introduced last year. It prohibits the trade of ivory from elephants, rhinos, narwhals, whales, walruses, mammoths or hippos. This means that Vermont is seeking to ban not only modern ivory but fossil ivory sales as well. The only exceptions are ivory products legally inherited, legally imported or that used for scientific or educational purposes. The bill was scheduled, if passed, to go into effect in January 2016, which leads me to believe it has not yet passed.
Kerry Skiff is a conservation advocate and recent journalism graduate of Northern Kentucky University. She follows the ivory trade around the world, and uses her voice to educate Americans about their role in animal conservation.