Forwarded from USARK: UPDATE Ohio: SB 310 Goes From Bad to Worse; House Vote Last Chance to STOP! Background Under political pressure from Governor Kasich to pass a bill prior to the legislative break, the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee abandoned their vow to protect small business and passed SB 310 in a 17-4 vote. There were numerous small amendments made in the omnibus measure. The most significant of which removes the two year moratorium on the addition of new species and would allow the Director of ODA to add species to the banned or restricted list with approval from the General Assembly, which could be as simple as a Concurrent Resolution. This measure would require neither hearings nor public comment, but could be passed with a simple voice vote. There was also a provision added that would add a massive and expensive new bureaucracy in the form of a Dangerous Wild Animal Commission that would burden this already unfunded mandate with enormous additional costs; passing much of those costs on to the counties and, unavoidably, the taxpayer. Click here for a Summary of House Omnibus Amendments to SB310. Problem Through Representative Jim Buchy, a USARK amendment was presented to the Committee. It would have fundamentally changed the way reptiles are addressed in SB 310, and significantly reduced cost to the taxpayer to administer. Our proposal would have eliminated permitting in favor of a simple registration with a $25 facility registration fee. It would have removed prohibitive surety bond and insurance liability language, and implemented secure containment and safety protocols. The proposal was well received by several members of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, but was rejected in caucus by Governor Kasich, Senator Balderson and Democrat leaders. This unusual political alliance is backed by HSUS, Columbus Zoo and Jack Hannah. They seem to be determined to pass a bill with some of the most restrictive reptile provisions in the country. In fact, Governor Kasich threatened the House Committee that he would veto any version of SB 310 with substantial changes, and Senator Balderson stated that the Senate would not pass any amendments weakening the de facto ban on exotic animals, including reptiles. With elections looming for all House Committee members in November, and the threat of having to go into lengthy conference with the Senate and the governor over SB 310, it was railroaded through. Solution Call In/ FAX Campaign: Talking points: I am OPPOSED to SB 310. The reptile industry is responsible for $30 million in annual revenue in Ohio. In hearings in the House and Senate neither proponents, bill sponsor nor ODA have been able to demonstrate any public safety risk posed by reptiles. They have not, because they cannot. The evidence does not exist. There have been only 3 deaths in 50 years related to captive reptiles in Ohio. Under pressure from Governor Kasich, Senator Balderson and Animal Rights Advocates, the House Ag & Natural Resources Committee failed to keep their pledge of protecting Ohio small businesses. The current version of SB 310 is more prohibitive than the de facto ban passed by the Senate. SB 310 is an unfunded mandate that demonstrates physical irresponsibility that will be passed on to counties and the taxpayer. Neither the bill sponsor nor ODA can demonstrate how they will pay for SB 310. They have not, because they cannot. The taxpayer will be left to pick up the tab. Please VOTE NO on SB 310. Click here to contact your House Member to OPPOSE SB 310!