Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sen. Sobel’s Python Legislation Wins Unanimous and Bi-Partisan Support at First Committee Stop

State Senator Eleanor Sobel’s (D - Hollywood) bill to prohibit personal ownership of six species of giant reptiles, including Burmese pythons, sailed through its first legislative hearing with a unanimous and resounding “yes” this week, unanimously passing the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee.

“Floridians would agree we have enough snakes in our sunshine state already,” said Sen. Sobel. “We do not want more exotic and invasive giant reptiles living and breeding in Florida. They pose too high a risk to our environment and they can endanger public safety.”

Senate Bill 318 is the only measure currently filed in the Florida Senate which would ban five species of giant snakes and one species of giant lizard, already identified as “Reptiles of Concern” by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Although possession of these species for personal use would be prohibited, current owners will be allowed to keep their pets through a grandfather clause.

“We’ve known for years about the risks posed by Burmese pythons yet they’re still allowed to be imported into the state, breed in the state and be sold within the state. This legislation gives Floridians the power to say: 'enough is enough',” Sobel added.

Passage of the legislation is being aided by Senator Lee Constantine, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation, as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. Its next stop is in the Senate’s General Government Appropriations Committee.

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