- Associated Press - Thursday, August 7, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The state Senate on Thursday approved a five-year extension allowing the sale of products made with crocodile and alligator skin, which often are used in luxury goods.

Lawmakers approved AB2075 by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, on a 21-9 bipartisan vote, with several Democrats abstaining or voting against it.

Because the extension was reduced from 10 years to five, AB2075 will return to the Assembly for approval of the amendment.

California banned importation of products made from alligators and crocodiles for commercial use, but lawmakers passed a temporary exemption in 2006 after a resurgence of the reptiles in Louisiana and Florida.

The industry has become a model of sustainable environmental management and is regulated by state, federal and international conservation agencies, said Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, who carried the bill in the Senate.

He said the state Board of Equalization has estimated that California would lose more than $200 million in tax revenue each year without the extension.

“AB2075 will help secure our economic recovery while keeping the strong conservation safeguards in place of the alligator and crocodile species used in the trade,” Cannella said.

The Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, along with designer retailers such as Fendi and Lanvin, supported the extension. If signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, it would continue to allow the sale of such skins used in shoes, purses, wallets and watches.

The Humane Society of the United States opposed the bill, saying that all 23 species of large crocodiles and alligators have been exploited. The animal rights group said inadequate tracking makes it difficult for consumers to know whether they are buying products made from endangered animals.

Despite a resurgence of its population, the American alligator is listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service while its cousin, the American crocodile, is listed as both endangered and threatened.

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