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Racketeering of Aquatic and Wild Animal Life (Florida)

Adds wildlife crimes to the list of racketeering offenses (HB 783/SB 776)

Racketeering of Aquatic and Wild Animal Life (HB 783/SB 776) would add wildlife crimes to the list of racketeering offenses, allowing further penalty to those who illegally take, kill, sell, purchase, or possess wild animals under Florida’s RICO (Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization) Act.

Updated

March 3, 2021

Work Type

Legislation

Status

Active

Racketeering of Aquatic and Wild Animal Life (HB 783/SB 776) would add wildlife crimes to the list of racketeering offenses, allowing further penalty to those who illegally take, kill, sell, purchase, or possess wild animals under Florida’s RICO (Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization) Act.

Wildlife trafficking is a serious problem in Florida. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) there is a “significant black-market trade in Florida’s wildlife, freshwater aquatic life, and marine life.” Wildlife trafficking is the fourth-most profitable international crime after the drug trade, arms trade, and human trafficking. Targeted animals include reef fish, freshwater turtles, sharks, captive monkeys and tigers, black bears, and alligators. Many of these species are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Trafficking further imperils these animals’ survival.

The House bill is sponsored by Representative Jenna Persons-Mulicka (R-78) and Representative Tobin Rogers “Toby” Overdorf (R-83). The Senate bill is sponsored by Senator George Gainer (R-2).

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