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California State Senate Passes Ivory Ban Bill

It's been a long road for AB 96, the bill to ban ivory and rhino horn sales in California — but we're almost there.

On Wednesday, Sen. Ricardo Lara brought AB 96 to a floor vote in the state senate, where the legislation quickly passed, 26-13. Introduced back in January, the bill now needs a concurrence vote from the state assembly before heading to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk. 

"AB 96's passage by the state senate brings California one step closer to closing loopholes that for decades have allowed illegal ivory sales to continue," WildAid CEO Peter Knights said. "We applaud the leadership of Speaker Toni Atkins and Senator Ricardo Lara, and we urge Governor Brown to sign this bill into law. It’s time to consign ivory sales to history." 

For decades, criminals have used the legal trade of ivory imported prior to 1977 in order to launder illegal ivory from Africa, where an estimated 33,000 elephants are killed for their tusks every year. A recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that an overwhelming amount of ivory sold in major markets such as San Francisco and Los Angeles is likely illegal.

With the passage of this bill, California would join New York and New Jersey in closing loopholes and adopting stiffer criminal and civil penalties on the sale of ivory. Attempts in other states to pass ivory bans have fallen short in recent months, due in part to the powerful gun lobby, which has assailed legislation that would affect sales of firearms and other weapons containing ivory. A victory in California is much-needed and will hopefully inspire other states to adopt similar measures.

More on AB 96 here