Amend the bill, as and if amended, beginning on page 10, by deleting Article 3, Chapter 15, Title 50 of the 1976 Code, as contained in SECTION 1. and inserting:
Section 50-15-310. As contained in this article:
(1) 'Alligator' means the species Alligator mississippiensis.
(2) 'Alligator propagation facility' means an enclosed area not located on public lands or waters, constructed so as to prevent the ingress and egress of alligators from surrounding public or private lands or waters where alligators are bred or raised as captive animals.
(3) 'Alligator propagator' means a person who raises captive alligators under controlled conditions which prohibit free movement of the animals onto and off of the facility, and who may harvest alligators under a permit from the department.
(4) 'Alligator part' means any part of an alligator.
(5) 'Commercial purposes' means to derive income or with the intent to derive income.
(6) 'Department' means the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
(7) 'Transport' means, in its different tenses, the act of shipping, attempting to ship, receiving or delivering for shipment, transporting, conveying, carrying, or exporting by air, land, or water or by any manner.
Section 50-15-320. (A) Any person may apply to the department for a permit to engage in the business of propagating alligators for commercial purposes. A permit allows the purchase of live alligators or alligator eggs from legal sources, the sale of live alligators within the State to other department-permitted alligator propagators only, the sale of live alligators to other states where the purchase of those animals is lawful, the sale of the carcasses, raw parts or skins of captive-raised alligators to any person for resale or processing into finished products, including sale for food, and the exhibition of live alligators.
(B) The capture, use, purchase, or sale of wild alligators or wild alligator eggs within this state for the purpose of alligator propagation is prohibited.
(C) Except as provided in subsection (A), the sale of alligator eggs is prohibited.
Section 50-15-330. (A) Upon payment of a nonrefundable application fee for applicants seeking a permit for the first time, the department shall investigate the applicant and the proposed facility. The department must prescribe applicant, facility, and operating requirements to applicants and may deny the application in its discretion after review. A person exhibiting alligators in a circus or zoo or in a similar animal, reptile, or wildlife show at a place or location other than on a captive alligator propagation facility is exempt from the permit and fee requirements of this article.
(B) Upon approval of an application and payment of the permit fee, the department shall issue an alligator propagation facility permit.
(C) A valid permit shall expire twelve months after the date of issuance and may be renewed not more than forty-five days prior to expiration upon payment of a renewal fee.
(D) Alligator propagation facilities located on noncontiguous parcels of land must be permitted separately.
Section 50-15-340. (A) It is unlawful to possess, buy, sell, barter, ship, transport, or offer to buy, sell, barter, ship, or transfer alligator carcasses, skins, or parts unless tagged or labeled according to department regulations.
(B) A person applying for an alligator propagator permit must first secure a bond to insure faithful performance naming the department as beneficiary in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars. The bond must be renewed as a condition of the permit. In the event the facility is closed, abandoned, or destroyed, or the permit is revoked, the department may use the proceeds of the bond to clean up and close the facility.
Section 50-15-350. (A) Permittees must maintain records related to the possession, source, and disposition of alligators and alligator eggs as prescribed by department regulations. These records must be kept on-site and are subject to inspection at any time by department personnel during reasonable hours.
(B) Department personnel may, during reasonable hours, enter and inspect all alligator facilities permitted under provisions of law different from this article and all alligator propagators' places of business, farm buildings, farm lands, vessels, and motor vehicles that are used or are of a type that could be used in the production, storage, sale, or transportation of any alligators, meat, parts, or skins, and conduct partial or complete inventories to determine whether the permitee is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
(C) Any alligator tags that have been issued to an alligator propagator in excess of the number of harvestable alligators actually present on a farm, as revealed by inventory or records, may be seized by department personnel.
Section 50-15-360. Any retailer, including retail food businesses, possessing, buying or selling alligator parts must maintain an invoice or bill of sale for each purchase or sale for a period of six months. These records must be made available for inspection at any and all reasonable hours by the department.
Section 50-15-370. (A) It is unlawful to alter or compromise the locking mechanism on any alligator tag. The possession of altered or fraudulent tags is unlawful. The possession of any alligator hide or carcass not tagged as prescribed by the department or any unskinned, untagged, frozen alligator carcass is unlawful and is considered contraband and subject to seizure and forfeiture by the department. Forfeited animals and parts must be disposed of by law and the proceeds deposited according to law.
(B) All alligator propagators must submit annual reports as prescribed by the department, on forms provided by the department, no later than January thirty-first of each year. This report must accompany any unused alligator tags from the previous year. No additional permits or tags shall be issued until this report is submitted. It is a violation of this section for any person to possess any unused alligator tags from the previous year after January thirty-first.
Section 50-15-380. (A) All raw alligator skins shipped within this state must be tagged. The accompanying bill of lading must show the number of skins in the shipment, the consignor, shipping point, consignee, and destination. The department must supply suitable tags to all shippers at a cost of ten dollars per tag requiring them for actual shipments. No alligator skin intended for shipment within this State may be accepted by any post office, express company, or agent, or the agent of any common carrier, unless the shipment complies with this section.
(B) A person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both.
Section 50-15-390. (A) It is unlawful for a person to take or possess the eggs of alligators, alligators, or their parts or skins in this State except as provided for in this article. The provisions of this section do not apply to legal finished products, alligators or their parts legally acquired before the effective date of this article, alligators or their parts legally acquired from other legal sources, or alligators harvested or collected under a permit from the department.
(B) It is unlawful to release any captive alligator.
(C) It is unlawful for an alligator propagation facility to offer for barter, sale, or trade the opportunity for a person to hunt or take an alligator at the facility except that a permitted facility may contract with an outside contractor to assist with the normal processing of alligators.
Section 50-15-400. Notwithstanding the provisions of this article to the contrary, in the event federal or state law regulations or designations allowed by law places the alligator in the endangered species status, all permits issued pursuant to this article are null and void.
Section 50-15-410. (A) Any alligator propagation facility that fails to renew the required permits or ceases operation for any reason shall have a period of three months in which to legally dispose of any remaining alligators in the facility. After three months, any remaining alligators in the facility must be forfeited to the State and disposed of. Forfeited animals and parts must be disposed of by law and the proceeds from them deposited according to law. The owner of the facility is liable for any costs associated with the disposal of the remaining alligators.
(B) If an alligator propagation facility is abandoned, or the alligator propagator fails to adequately maintain the enclosure after notification by the department, or in the case of wilful neglect of the facility, or the lack of proper care, feeding or humane handling of alligators in the facility, the alligator propagator is considered in violation of this article and any alligators or alligator parts in the facility must be forfeited to the department. Forfeited animals and parts must be disposed of by law and the proceeds from them deposited according to law. The owner of the facility is liable for any costs associated with the disposal of the remaining alligators.
Section 50-15-420. (A) Unless otherwise provided for, a person who violates the provisions of this article or implementing regulations is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both. The magistrates court retains concurrent jurisdiction for offenses contained in this article.
(B) Any alligator, alligator part, alligator eggs, or alligator skins unlawfully possessed, purchased, sold, bartered, shipped, or transported are contraband and are forfeited to the department. Forfeited animals and parts must be disposed of by law and the proceeds from them deposited according to law.
(C) Any person permitted as an alligator propagator convicted of violating any of the provisions of this article or regulations related to the unlawful taking, purchasing, selling, or bartering of a wild alligator, wild alligator part, or wild alligator eggs, or the unlawful shipping or transporting of those items, forfeits his permit upon conviction for one year, and all alligators, alligator parts, and alligator skins in his possession are forfeited to the State. Forfeited animals and parts must be disposed of by law and the proceeds from them deposited according to law.
Section 50-15-430. (A) To the extent not provided for in other law or by other agency, the department may adopt regulations for the placement, construction, operation, and maintenance of alligator propagation facilities, to include the following:
(1) The minimum distance among alligator propagation facilities, other alligator propagation facilities, and residences;
(2) The secure and humane confinement of the alligators; and
(3) The maximum number of alligators that may be present, in total and for propagation, on an alligator propagation facility at any one time.
(B) Water quality and waste impacts caused by alligator farms shall be subject to regulations issued by the Department of Health & Environmental Control." /
Amend the bill further, as and if amended, by adding a new SECTION appropriately numbered to read:
/ SECTION __. Chapter 15, Title 50 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 50-15-500. (A) The General Assembly finds that the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) was reclassified by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service from endangered or threatened to 'threatened due to similarity of appearance throughout the remainder of its range' pursuant to the federal Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531) and the regulations issued to implement that act. American alligators may now be taken under federal law in compliance with 50 C.F.R. 17.42(a)(2)(ii). Therefore, in order to create more opportunity for hunting and for the controlled harvest of the alligator, the General Assembly finds it in the best interest of the state to allow the taking of the alligator under strictly controlled conditions and circumstances and in compliance with federal law.
(B)(1) The department must establish an alligator management program that allows for hunting and for selective removal of alligators in order to provide for the sound management of the animals and to ensure the continued viability of the species. The department must set the conditions for taking, including the size, methods of take, areas, times and seasons, disposition of the parts, and other conditions to properly control the harvest of alligators and the disposition of parts. The department may allow alligators to be taken at any time of the year, in any area, including sanctuaries, as part of its alligator management program. All alligators taken under the alligator management program must be taken pursuant to permits and tags and under conditions established by the department in accordance with state and federal law. All alligators taken must be tagged. Except for those persons operating under authority of depredation permits, a person who hunts, takes, or attempts to take an alligator must have a hunting license. It is unlawful for a depredation permit holder or his or her designee to sell, barter, or trade or offer to sell, barter, or trade the privilege to take an alligator under the authority of a depredation permit.
(2) The department may establish an alligator hunting season. The department may issue alligator permits and tags to allow hunting and taking of alligators in any game zone where alligators occur. A person desiring to hunt and take alligators must apply to the department.
(3) A landowner or lessee of property on which alligators occur may apply to the department for a permit to participate in the Private Lands Alligator Program. On those private lands, the season for hunting and taking alligators is from September first through May thirty-first. On those lands in the private lands program only, unsecured alligators may be taken by firearms, provided no alligator may be taken by use of rim fire weapons or shotguns. Unsecured alligators may be taken only by firearms from thirty minutes before sunrise until thirty minutes after sunset. A person who takes an alligator by use of firearms must make a reasonable effort to recover the carcass at the time of taking or for the next ensuing forty-eight hours. A person using a firearm to take an alligator must have a gaff or grappling hook or other similar device to immediately locate and recover the carcass.
(4) The department may designate alligator control agents who demonstrate by training and experience that they possess the skills to remove alligators. Those persons designated serve at the discretion of the department. The department may require periodic demonstrations of skill or require periodic training. Alligator control agents function under the general guidance and supervision of the department for the capture and removal of nuisance alligators including the disposition of the alligator or its parts.
(C) It is unlawful to feed, entice, or molest an alligator except as permitted under state and federal law. A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than one hundred fifty dollars or imprisoned for up to thirty days, or both. The magistrates court retains jurisdiction over this offense.
(D) A person who hunts or takes an alligator, or allows an alligator to be hunted or taken, or possesses or disposes of alligator parts, except as allowed by this section and the implementing regulations, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than two thousand five hundred dollars or imprisoned for up to thirty days, or both. The magistrates court retains jurisdiction over this offense. In addition, the court may order restitution for any animal or part of an animal taken, possessed, or transferred in violation of this section." /
Amend the bill further, as and if amended, by adding a new SECTION appropriately numbered to read:
/ SECTION __. Chapter 9, Title 50 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 50-9-460. (A) An applicant for an alligator propagation facility permit must remit a nonrefundable fee of five hundred dollars with the application.
(B) Upon approval of an alligator propagation facility permit, the applicant must remit a fee of one hundred dollars to obtain the permit.
(C) Before renewal of a valid alligator propagation facility permit, the permittee must remit a fee of one hundred dollars to renew the permit." /
Renumber sections to conform.
Amend title to conform.