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Sunday
Mar032019

Stewart Bill to Stop Wildlife Trafficking in New Mexico Heads to House after Senate Passage

Sen. Mimi Stewart’s legislation known as The Wildlife Trafficking Act is now headed to the House of Representatives after it passed the New Mexico Senate on Friday, bringing New Mexico one step closer to stopping the trafficking of endangered species and animal parts, which primarily enter the state through the El Paso Port of Entry.

“Right next door to us, El Paso is one of the top-five ports of entry for wildlife trafficking in the nation,” Stewart said. “Much of that contraband is moved through New Mexico as it’s distributed, illicitly, around the country. We’re better than that. With up to 100 elephants a day being killed globally for their tusks, New Mexico needs to do its part to stop wildlife trafficking.”

SB 38 makes it easier to crack down on the sale of endangered species and their parts—such as certain shark fins or rhinoceros tusks. The bill also creates civil penalties for wildlife trafficking and allows courts to order trafficked contraband to be confiscated.

The Wildlife Trafficking Act only deals with the sale of these animal products. Possession is not affected by the legislation. As a result, New Mexicans who may own antiques or heirlooms that contain ivory or other animal parts covered by the bill will not be impacted in any way.

“This bill is narrowly focused on the cracking down on the multibillion-dollar wildlife-trafficking black market,” Stewart said. “The goal of the Wildlife Trafficking Act is to crack down on an industry that is quickly and illegally killing off endangered species around the world. It’s about taking the profit out of killing endangered species.”

SB 38 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration where it will be carried by the bill’s cosponsor, Rep. Gail Chasey.

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A retired teacher, Senate Majority Whip Mimi Stewart has served two years as chair of the Legislative Education Study Committee. Prior to becoming a state Senator, Stewart served 20 years in the New Mexico House of Representatives, where she chaired the Education Committee. Stewart lives in Albuquerque. Learn more at www.mimistewart.org and follow her on Twitter @Sen_MimiStewart and on Instagram @mimistewart9.