Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5578

Title:

AN ACT PROHIBITING THE SALE AND TRADE OF IVORY AND RHINOCEROS HORN.

Vote Date:

3/16/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/11/2016

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

Representative Fred Camillo, 151st District

Representative Peter A. Tercyak, 26th District

Representative Brenda L. Kupchick, 132nd District

Representative Christopher Rosario, 28th District

Representative Robert W. Megna, 97th District

Representative John “Jack” F. Hennessy, 127th District

Representative Steven Stafstrom, 129th District

REASONS FOR BILL:

The bill bans the sale and trade of ivory from a number of different species of animal, as well as rhinoceros horn, while offering exemptions for antique ivory and musical instruments that meet certain criteria. The demand for ivory in commercial contexts has led to extensive illegal poaching of animal species including elephants and rhinoceroses, which are often brutally slaughtered in order for poachers to obtain their tusks and horns. This has led to a dramatic reduction in these animal populations. The United States remains a significant importer of ivory, and although federal law does address international and domestic ivory trade, proponents of the bill have argued that these laws contain enough grey areas and loopholes to allow for the importation of illicit ivory to continue.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE

-Separates exemptions for antiques and musical instruments into individual sections

-For antique ivory, adds a provision that allows for a sworn affidavit by an expert demonstrating provenance that a given antique is 100 years old or greater. Previously, only historical documentation was allowed as an offer of proof

-Exempts the purchase, sale, offer for sale, or possession with intent to sell of an ivory or rhinoceros horn item by a bona fide educational or scientific institution, or a museum. Removes criteria that would have placed certain restrictions on these transactions

-Broadens the exemption on ivory that is part of a musical instrument by exempting any such item that was made prior to February 26, 1976

-Removes subsections (g), (h) and (i), which pertained to the imposition of administrative penalties for individuals found to be in violation of this act

-Mandates that the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection consult with the Attorney General when implementing this act

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Robert Klee, Commissioner – Department of Energy & Environmental Protection: While the Department is supportive of the bill's aim to preserve and protect endangered and threatened species, Commissioner Klee stated that he believes the Department lacks the expertise and necessary resources to adequately enforce this act. He further states that he believes this issue can more effectively be addressed by the international CITES treaty or by relevant federal law.

These concerns were addressed in part by the Substitute Language, which removed (1) the Department's responsibility in oversight over purchases by institutions and museums, and (2) the imposition of administrative penalties and the Department's oversight over and administration of this process

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Annie Hornish, The Humane Society of the United States; Iris Ho, Humane Society International: In their joint testimony, Ms. Hornish and Ms. Ho state that it is extremely difficult to implement and enforce federal laws governing ivory importation. They add that many sellers of ivory often attempt to pass off newer ivory as old ivory or use similar forms of deception by providing “fraudulent documents.”

Christina Manto, Government & Community Affairs – Wildlife Conservation Society: Ms. Manto testified that approximately 35,000 African elephants were killed in 2012 – a rate which could lead to the extinction of the species in 10-15 years. She adds that state bans are “essential” to halting the ivory trade at the point of retail sale.

Gregg Dancho, Director – Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo: Mr. Dancho stated that it is likely that “significant quantities of illegal wildlife products pass through border inspections undetected,” including points of entry such as New Haven, Bridgeport, and New London. He added that Connecticut should “send the message to poachers, traffickers, and consumers that we value our world's animal's more than needless trinkets and ornaments.”

Peter LaFontaine, Campaigns Officer – International Fund for Animal Welfare: Mr. LaFontaine testified that the IFAW has found “overwhelming evidence” that the legal trade of wildlife products is exploited to hide a “parallel market in illicit products.” He added that other states including New York, New Jersey, California, Washington, Massachusetts and Hawaii have passed or are attempting to pass similar legislation.

Rosa Indenbaum, International Policy Analyst – Defenders of Wildlife: In her testimony, Ms. Indenbaum stated that elephants and rhinos are becoming increasing endangered by the poaching of these animals for their ivory and horn. She added that ending the illegal wildlife trade will in large part be driven by reducing domestic demand for the products.

Susan Linker, Chief Executive Officer – Our Companions Animal Rescue: Ms. Linker testified that an increasing number of African-based terrorist groups are “turning to the illegal trade of elephant tusks to finance their operations.” She further stated that both elephants and rhinos could be facing extinction in 15 years or less without additional intervention.

Amy Harrell, President – CT Votes for Animals: Ms. Harrell stated that federal law does not address the trade of ivory within states. She added that that modern society should not treat ivory as a “collector's item” and should instead be given to museums and other organizations with the capacity to study the historical nature of these pieces.

Kathy and Tony Romano, Owners – The Antique Jungle: In their testimony, the Romano family stated that members of the public largely disapprove of selling ivory and have said that “they would not shop in a store that sold ivory.” They added that “the few that want ivory trade for personal gain is outnumbered by the majority who want this inhumane act stopped.”

Marta Daniels, Owner – Spiritus Mundi Antiques: Ms. Daniels testified that Connecticut owes a large debt to the African elephant due to its status as the world's largest ivory importer from 1840 to 1940. She added that “legal and illegal sales cannot be separated,” and as a result an illegal trade in ivory will continue to exist as long as ivory has value.

Elly Pepper, Natural Resources Defense Council: In her testimony, Ms. Pepper stated that U.S. laws on elephant ivory “facilitate an illegal market” because of the difficulty in determining both the age of ivory and whether it comes from a legal source. She added that because states near Connecticut have banned or are about to ban the sale of ivory, that the state could become a haven for illicit ivory.

The following individuals have submitted testimony expressing their belief that Connecticut should pass a law banning the sale and trade of ivory and rhinoceros horn in order to protect these species from poaching and possible extinction

Agnes Wosko, Granby Resident

Amanda Mullane, Wallingford Resident

Anne Hulick, Cromwell Resident

Anne Voloshin, New Haven Resident

Ava Fiore

Barbara Rudnick, East Berlin Resident

Bernice Berg, Monroe Resident

Beth E. Hulsizer, Wallingford Resident

Betty McTiernan, Trumbull Resident

Bill Katz, Hartford Resident

Brooke Fletcher

Carol Angotta, Wilton Resident

Cathie H. Fuhrmann, Greenwich Arts Council

Chris Kerin, Weston Resident and HSUS State Council Member

Christine Kaminski, Bridgeport Resident

Corrine Collins, Stafford Springs Resident

Dawn Carlson, Branford Resident

Deborah Dembo, Chester Resident

Deborah Kiefer, Naugatuck Resident

Diane Honer, Ivoryton Resident

Dianne King

Donna Landerman, Bloomfield Resident

Dr. Barbara Kayser, New Jersey Resident

Elizabeth Anne Foss, Farmington Resident

Ellen Wilson, New Milford Resident

Eva Magnuszewski, New Britain Resident

Frederick C. Abberley

Glaucia S. Lolli, Northford Resident

Heidi Lobel

Henry Petrofsky, Kensington Resident

Ines & Kurt Kallmeyer

Ingrid Casas, New Milford Resident

Jamila Hadj Salem, Stafford Resident

Janice Bergeron

Janis Comstock, Hartford Resident

Janith Taigen, Chester Resident

Jeanne Hedberg, Plainfield Resident

Jeffrey C. Jump, Wolcott Resident

Jennifer Kelsey, Guilford Resident

Jennifer Wynn, West Hartford Resident

Jessica Hindlian, Stamford Resident

Jill Alibrandi, Wilton Resident

Jim Hoffecker, Hamden Resident

Julia Caruk, South Windsor Resident

Julie Lewin, Guilford Resident

Julie Stankiewicz, Manchester Resident

Karen Laski, Manchester Resident and member of CT Votes for Animals

Karin Barth, Mystic Resident

Katherine Sullivan, Ridgefield

Kathy Hucks, New Britain

Katie Scott, Humane Society of the United States

Kay Hardin, Brookfield

Kim Hoyt, Tolland

Larry Athay, Essex

Laura Cunningham, Greenwich

Laura Janoski, Ivoryton

Leonard Horowitz, Branford

Leslie Bhutani, Greenwich

Linda Arpino, Stamford

Linda Bruno, Greenwich

Linda Infante, Sierra Club

Lisa Wysocki, Greenwich

Lori Ann Clymas, Chester

Lori Nicholson, Branford

Mandy Wieting, Vernon

Mary Buchalter, Ivoryton

Mary Lawrence, Wethersfield

Michele McLeod M.D., Sandy Hook

Michele Nanfito

Miriam Greenberg, Simsbury

Noreen Lotko, Plainville

Pamela Torola

Patricia Harmon, Ph.D.

Paula Snedeker, Meriden

Peter Herrmann, West Hartford

Phillip Sobask, Northford

Robert Murphy, Groton

Ronaldo DeGray, Glastonbury

Rosamund Downing, Humane Society

Rosemarie Caruso

Rosemary Cotnoir, Essex

Ruth Martin, Bristol

Sally Anne Hubbard, Milford

Sally Westcott RN, Bloomfield

Sarah Qualman

Scott Tucker, Madison

Sharon Eaton

Dr. Sharon Sprouse

Sheriden Franklin, Norwich

Sherrill Jones, Tolland

Sherry Wernicke, Riverside

Stephanie Malkin, North Branford

Susan Colman, New Milford

Theresa Healey, Norwalk

Sylvia Kohler, Darien

Teresa Grady, New Milford

Tracy Quigley, Hartford

Wendy Horowitz, New Haven

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Thomas Loughman, Director & CEO – Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; Paul O'Pecko, Vice President – Mystic Seaport; Vivian Zoe, Director – Slater Memorial Museum; Philip Zea, President & CEO – Historic Deerfield; James Kilvington, President – Antiques Dealers' Association of America; Arthur Liverant, Owner – Nathan Liverant and Son LLC: In their joint testimony, the aforementioned parties refer to the 20 percent or less content requirement as “arbitrary, counterintuitive and would cause the devaluation of countless genuine antiques.” The group added that the structure of the administrative appeals process is problematic, and recommended support for the longstanding legal market for antique worked ivory in order to keep trade out of illegal underground markets.

The concerns regarding the administrative hearing process were addressed in the Substitute Language

In addition to their contribution to the aforementioned testimony, Ms. Zoe and Mr. Liverant individually submitted testimony making points similar to those mentioned above

Representative Linda Orange, 48th District: Representative Orange testified that prohibiting a trade in a commodity could potentially exacerbate the problem of elephant poaching rather than alleviating it. She largely referred to the testimony of her constituent Arthur Liverant throughout her written remarks.

Representative Mitch Bolinsky, 106th District: Representative Bolinsky stated that the bill threatens Connecticut's antiques trade and infringes on the property rights of citizens, particularly seniors who may not even be aware of a law being passed. He added that the “unintended consequences of this bill will rain permanent and catastrophic damage” on a significant sector of Connecticut's economy.

Christopher Kopacki Ph.D., Connecticut State Liaison – National Rifle Association of America: In his testimony, Mr. Kopacki argued that the bill will detrimentally impact firearm owners, sportsmen, hunters, recreational shooters and gun collectors who have legally purchased or acquired historically-significant or collectable firearms. He added that many citizens do not have documentation for antique items because they were never previously required.

The concerns regarding documentation were largely addressed in the Substitute Language

Douglas Ritter, Chairman – Knife Rights: Mr. Ritter stated that the bill will “have a severe negative financial impact on…law-abiding citizens who own items originally crafted with parts from these animals.” He added that proponents of the bill have misrepresented facts to “paint a highly distorted picture” regarding the illegal ivory trade and statistics regarding poaching in Africa

Robert Crook, Director – Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen: Mr. Crook stated that passage of this law would “amount to the taking of property that had been acquired legally and in good faith.” He added that the bill's prohibitions will not protect any species of animal, and that wildlife management and law enforcement on the African continent is the most appropriate solution.

Elaine Carroll, Executive Director – New Haven Symphony Orchestra: Though not necessarily opposed to the bill conceptually, Ms. Carroll stated that the requirement for historical documentation could “make it impossible” for musicians to sell high-value or antique instruments. She added that an exemption for musical instruments made before 1976 “would be a great service to the musicians of our state.”

These concerns were addressed in the Substitute Language

Ms. Carroll's testimony regarding an exemption for musical instruments were similar to those expressed by Eric Johnson, President – Piano Technicians Guild CT Chapter and James Goldberg, National Association of Music Merchants, whose concerns were also addressed in the Substitute Language

Ilene Frank, Chief Curator – Connecticut Historical Society: In her testimony, Ms. Frank expressed concern over the proposed restriction requiring that an antique contain less than 20 percent ivory, stating that this would “negatively affect the ability of antique dealers to acquire and sell” items to the Connecticut Historical Society. She added that the language that requires documentation to prove a musical instrument was made prior to 1976 is problematic due the fact that most items do not possess documentation.

The concerns regarding documentation were addressed in the Substitute Language, and the concerns about CHS' ability to acquire antiques would likely be addressed as well due to the fact that CHS would likely be considered a “bona fide educational or scientific institution” per subsection (a) of Section 1

Larry Higgins, President – Safari Club International: Mr. Higgins testified that while he believes the goal of bill is to strip ivory of commercial value, the “potential result would be an unconstitutional taking without due process or adequate compensation.” He further stated that the international CITES treaty has not identified “any significant flow of illegal ivory into or through the United States.”

The following individuals have submitted testimony expressing their belief that the bill will detrimentally impact individuals or businesses that possess antiques made of ivory while not helping to save any animals in the wild. Many individuals cite the research of Dr. Daniel Stiles and his argument that “banning the trade in a commodity for which consumer and investor demand exists not only is NO solution, (but) it can in fact exacerbate the problem”:

Al Comen, Director of the American Clock and Watch Museum

Andrea Herr

Andy Liverant, FC Beat Magazine, Art Director

Avril Saunder, Litchfield Resident

Bill and Susan Heider, Susan Heider Antiques

Brent Eynon

Brian Bartizek, Willimantic Resident

Brian Pinto, Glastonbury Resident

Carl E. Hein and Judith J. Hein, Glastonbury Residents

Cathy M. Dillon, Of a Certain Age Vintage, Antique & Collectibles

Charlie Naimo

Cheryl Lawless

Corinne Bowie, Bloomfield Resident

Daisy Luna

Daniel Campbell, Tulalip, WA Resident

David A. Dorwart, Mansfield Resident

David Schorsch, Middlebury Resident, Antiques Dealer

David Warther, Ohio Resident

Don Nigro, Hawaii Resident

Don Troiani, Southbury Resident

Dr. Margaret McCutcheon Faber

Edward Stinsonn, Mid-Atlantic Auction

Edwin J. Nadeau III, Nadeau's Auction Gallery

Edwin J. Nadeau Jr., Nadeau's Auction Gallery

Emily Cusson, Tolland Resident

Eric Westphal, Poolwatch

Forrest P. Chisman

Frank Gaglio, Frank Gaglio Antiques and Appraisals Inc.

Gail Tinto

Gaye Hyre, West Haven Resident

George Sparacio

Gerry Lupacchino, Hartford HealthCare

Gerry W. Whitehead, Farmington Resident

Glenn Forrester Hillman, Litchfield Resident

Guy Hansen

Heather Nadeau, Nadeau's Appraisals

Helaine Fendelman

Jack DeStories, Fairfield Auction

James Cooke & Anita Hochstein, Glastonbury Residents

James McKenna

Janet Hoyt, Newtown Resident

Janice and Fredric Aibel

Jeff R. Bridgman, American Antiques Inc.

JJ Smith, Avon Resident

Joe Canali

Johanna McBrien, Antiques & Fine Art Magazine

John O'Hara

John A. Royall

John Wheat

Joyce Gardner, Groton Resident

Karen Wheat

Kay Knight Clarke

Kent Ballard

Kevin Tulimieri, Amston

Lara Hillman, Litchfield

Lincoln Sander, Sandy Hook

Linda Karst Stone

Linda Schramm, New Milford

Linda Stamm, Plainville

Lisa Krieger

Loretta Kretchko, New Milford

Lynne Hills, Ridgefield

Mark Dawkins

Mark Laird

Mark Tobias

Mary Lionetti

Marybeth Keene, M.B. Kenne Antiques and Interiors

Matt Pace, Tolland

Max Foote

Merle Koblenz

Michael Friedman

Michele Lincoln, Hawaii

Mike Michael

Nancy Trevor

Paul Goulekas, Niantic

Paul Krasusky, Tolland

Peter Brown, MD

Peter Rhodes

Peter Zaidel, Cromwell

Phillip Krumholz, Illinois

Richard Donnelly, Rhode Island

Richard Maturski

Richard Tetlow, Jr.

Rick Conner

Ronnie Barokh

Rosemarie DeStories, Newtown

Ross Keasling

Rudy Sanzana

Sam Matos

Scott Defrin, European Decorative Arts Co.

Sherry Hansley, Voluntown

Spencer Gordon, Spencer Marks Ltd.

Steven Greco, East Hampton

Susan Wechsler, South Road Art & Antiques

T.J. Antorino, New York

Taylor Vincent, Fairfield

Tom Jewett and Butch Berdan

Wade Martell and Michael Suffin, Woodbury

Wayne Hilt, Haddam Neck

William Bartley, Litchfield

William Bakeman, Wm Bakeman Antiques

Wilson Forero and Stephen Jablonski, Woodbury

Reported by: Jared Savas

Date: 3/28/16