On Tuesday May 8, 2012, the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs of the House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a hearing on proposed legislation to de-criminalize the Lacey Act, a 1900 statute prohibiting the interstate transportation of wildlife or plants obtained in violation of federal, state or foreign laws. The statute received attention recently when Gibson Guitars was raided by federal agents for allegedly importing ebony and rosewood in violation of the laws of India and Madagascar. Senator Rand Paul and Representative Paul C. Broun have introduced companion bills in the Senate and House, which would replace the Lacey Act's criminal penalties with a civil penalty system, and strike from the Act all references to "foreign law." The new legislation would also make the Lacey Act enforceable only through civil process.
Center for Legal Policy at the