In February, Vermont introduced a key measure to completely ban its domestic elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn commerce, joining nearly 20 states taking action to eliminate the ivory trade in 2015.
In 2014, New Jersey and New York made history as the first states to pass stronger ivory trade restrictions. New Jersey's law, a full ban on all ivory and rhino horn sales in the state, took effect this past February.
As of March 1, a plethora of diverse states — including California, Vermont, Illinois, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Florida, Oklahoma, Virginia, Maryland, Washington State, Iowa and Connecticut — have all introduced similar measures to end ivory and rhino horn trade in 2015. In addition, action is underway to introduce ivory sales bans in Colorado, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Delaware and the District of Columbia.
While approximately 20 states are taking action to end the ivory trade in their states, some are further along than others in the process. A few of them have key hearings this week.
Here's a summary of states taking action to end ivory trade thus far in 2015:
1. CaliforniaBill introduced; currently in committee.
California impacts 20 percent of the US economy and has our nation's second largest market for ivory. That's why it's key that the Sunshine State bans ivory trade with no further exemptions.
Upcoming Hearing: The measure (AB 96) will be heard before the California State Assembly, Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee, at 9:30 a.m. PST March 10 at the State Capitol in Sacramento. For more info and actions on how you can show your support, click here.
2. IllinoisBill introduced February 20.
3. MassachusettsBill introduced and moving quickly.
4. HawaiiBill introduced; currently in committee.
Hawaii has the third largest market for illegal ivory in the United States. Support for an ivory ban is strong, but the opposition is also vocal. For more information on ongoing efforts to end the ivory trade in Hawaii, click here.
5. VermontBill introduced February 24.
For more information, including how to show your support, click here.
6. MarylandBill introduced; currently in committee.
Upcoming Hearing: The bill, HB0713, will be debated before the House Judiciary Committee in a hearing scheduled for 1 p.m. March 4 at the Maryland House Office Building, Room 100, 6 Bladen Street. For more information, including how to show your support, click here.