H.R. 3210 (112th): RELIEF Act

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Oct 14, 2011 (Reported by House Committee).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

IB

Union Calendar No. 439

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 3210

[Report No. 112–604]

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

October 14, 2011

(for himself, Mrs. Bono Mack, and Mrs. Blackburn) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources

July 17, 2012

Additional sponsors: Mr. Roe of Tennessee, Mr. Grimm, Mr. Marchant, Mr. Paul, Mr. DesJarlais, Mr. Rohrabacher, Mr. Coble, Mrs. Ellmers, Mr. Young of Alaska, Mr. Hunter, Mr. Manzullo, Mr. Paulsen, Mr. McClintock, Mr. Kingston, Mr. Ruppersberger, Mr. Ryan of Ohio, Mr. Posey, Mr. Matheson, and Mr. McCotter

July 17, 2012

Reported with an amendment, committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, and ordered to be printed

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic

For text of introduced bill, see copy of bill as introduced on October 14, 2011


A BILL

To amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to limit the application of that Act with respect to plants and plant products that were imported before the effective date of amendments to that Act enacted in 2008, and for other purposes.


1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Retailers and Entertainers Lacey Implementation and Enforcement Fairness Act or the RELIEF Act .

2.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

Amendments to the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 were enacted as part of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–246).

(2)

The 2008 amendments were intended to level the playing field for American businesses engaged in the responsible harvest, shipment, manufacture, and trade of plants and plant products whose prices had been undercut by a black market fueled by irresponsible and illegal taking of protected plants around the globe.

(3)

The 2008 amendments were overly broad and their enforcement as enacted could criminalize actions of a good-faith owner, purchaser, or retailer of a plant or plant product, subjecting them to penalties that include forfeiture, fines, and imprisonment.

(4)

Sanctions for violating the 2008 amendments should be proportional to the act in violation. An individual who is not in the commercial shipping business should not be held to the same standard of compliance under that Act.

(5)

Individuals fear that they risk incurring those penalties by merely owning or traveling with a vintage musical instrument, antique furniture, or another wood product.

(6)

The Department of the Interior and Department of Justice have stated people who unknowingly possess a musical instrument or other object containing wood that was illegally taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of law and who, in the exercise of due care would not have known that it was illegal, do not have criminal exposure..

(7)

It is necessary to clarify the 2008 amendments so that legally harvested new plant products can enter the market place.

(8)

Declaration requirements for plant products imported or manufactured prior to May 22, 2008, are unreasonable since the sourcing of plant products was not previously required by law.

(9)

Federal law enforcement officials should not engage in overzealous enforcement action under the 2008 amendments.

(10)

It is important to ensure that the appropriate agencies have the necessary funding to implement the current phases of the declaration requirement before considering any future phases.

(11)

The appropriate agencies have the responsibility of providing a publicly accessible database so that everyone can be notified of the foreign laws of countries as they apply to the importation of plants.

3.

Treatment of plants and plant products under Lacey Act Amendments of 1981

(a)

Limitation on application of Act to certain plants and plant products

The Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 (16 U.S.C. 3371 et seq.) is amended by redesignating section 9 as section 10, and by inserting after section 8 the following:

9.

Limitation on application to certain plants and plant products

This Act does not apply with respect to—

(1)

any plant that was imported into the United States before May 22, 2008; or

(2)

any finished plant or plant product the assembly and processing of which was completed before May 22, 2008.

.

(b)

Limitations on application of plant declaration requirement

Section 3(f) of such Act (16 U.S.C. 3372(f)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1), by inserting that is entered for consumption (as that term is defined in part 141.0a of title 19, Code of Federal Regulations, as in effect on the date of enactment of the Retailers and Entertainers Lacey Implementation and Enforcement Fairness Act) after plant; and

(2)

in paragraph (3)—

(A)

by inserting (A) before Paragraphs (1); and

(B)

by adding at the end the following:

(B)
(i)

In the case of a plant product that is derived from a tree, a declaration under paragraph (1) or (2) is not required to include information referred to in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of that paragraph unless the plant product is solid wood.

(ii)

The Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service shall issue regulations that define the term solid wood for purposes of this subparagraph.

.

(c)

Application of civil forfeiture laws

Section 5(d) of such Act (16 U.S.C. 3374(d)) is amended—

(1)

by inserting (1) before Civil;

(2)

by inserting , except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection before the period at the end; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(2)

Subsection (d)(4) of section 983 of such chapter, and the second sentence of subsection (a)(1)(F) of such section, shall not apply to plants or plant products.

(3)

This section is the sole authority for civil seizure or forfeiture actions alleging, or predicated upon, a violation of section 3.

.

4.

Limitation on application of foreign laws

(a)

Prohibited acts

Section 3(a) of such Act (16 U.S.C. 3372(a)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (2)(B), in clause (ii) and in clause (iii), by striking foreign law and inserting foreign law that is directed at the protection, conservation, and management of plants; and

(2)

in paragraph (3)(B), in clause (ii) and in clause (iii), by striking foreign law and inserting foreign law that is directed at the protection, conservation, and management of plants.

(b)

Civil penalties

Section 4(a)(1) of such Act (16 U.S.C. 3373(a)(1)) is amended by striking foreign law and inserting foreign law that is directed at the protection, conservation, and management of plants.

5.

Review and report

Section 3(f) of such Act (16 U.S.C. 3372(f)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (4), by striking Not later than two years after the date of enactment of this subsection, and inserting Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Retailers and Entertainers Lacey Implementation and Enforcement Fairness Act,; and

(2)

in paragraph (5)—

(A)

by striking Not later than 180 days after the date on which the Secretary completes the review under paragraph (4), the Secretary and inserting Not later than 180 days after the date the Secretary completes the review under paragraph (4), the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service;

(B)

by striking and after the semicolon at the end of subparagraph (B);

(C)

by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (C) and inserting ; and; and

(D)

by adding at the end the following:

(D)

an evaluation of the feasibility of creating and maintaining a publicly available database of laws of foreign countries from which plants are exported.

.

July 17, 2012

Reported with an amendment, committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, and ordered to be printed