Section 653o of the California Penal Code makes it a misdemeanor to import into the state for commercial purposes, to possess with intent to sell, or sell within the dead body or a product thereof, of a variety of animals. Commencing on January 1, 2020, Section 653o(b)(1) shall make it “unlawful to import into this state for commercial purposes, to possess with an intent to sell, or to sell within the state, the dead body, or any part or product thereof, of a crocodile or alligator.” This bans any shipment of alligator or crocodile into, possession of alligator or crocodile with an intent to sell, or to sell within California. A number of bills to either delay the effectiveness of the law or repeal it recently have been killed or tabled by the California Legislature.
Assembly Bill 1561, which was introduced by Assembly Members Blanca Rubio and Adam Gray which delays the commencement of the prohibition on importing into the state for commercial purposes, possessing with an intent to sell, or selling within the state, the dead body, or a part or product thereof, of a crocodile or alligator until January 1, 2021, was re-referred to Committee on September 9, 2019. Other Assembly Bills, such as AB 527 and 719 were introduced to either repeal or further delay the commencement of the prohibition. AB 527 (Voepel), which sought to extend the commencement of the effect of Section 653o until January 1, 2030 died in Assembly Appropriations on May 1, 2019. AB 719 was tabled prior to the end of the California Legislature in early September 2019.