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H 3864
Session 113 (1999-2000) 

H 3864 General Bill, By Witherspoon, Delleney, Barfield and Kirsh
 A BILL TO AMEND TITLE 50, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO
 FISH, GAME, AND WILDLIFE, BY ADDING CHAPTER 14 SO AS TO ENACT THE "SOUTH
 CAROLINA ALLIGATOR FARMING ACT OF 1999"; TO DEFINE "ALLIGATOR FARM",
 "ALLIGATOR FARMER", "ALLIGATOR PART", "ALLIGATOR PARTS DEALER", "DIRECTOR",
 "DEPARTMENT", AND "TRANSPORT"; TO PROVIDE FOR ENGAGING IN THE BUSINESS OF
 PROPAGATING ALLIGATORS; TO PROVIDE FOR ALLIGATOR FARMING LICENSING AND FEES;
 TO PROVIDE FOR MARKETING, TAKING, TAGGING, AND TRANSPORTATION OF ALLIGATOR
 CARCASSES AND SKINS IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF
 NATURAL RESOURCES; TO REQUIRE AND PROVIDE FOR PROPERTY RIGHTS IN CERTAIN
 ALLIGATORS AND PARTS THEREOF; TO PROVIDE FOR LICENSES AND FEES FOR ALLIGATOR
 PARTS DEALERS, RETAIL, AND RESTAURANTS; TO PROVIDE FOR ALLIGATOR PARTS
 TRANSACTION FORMS, BILLS OF SALE, AND RETENTION OR INSPECTION OF RECORDS OR
 BILLS OF SALE RELATING TO ALLIGATOR TRANSACTIONS; TO PROVIDE FOR ALLIGATOR
 PARTS TAGS; TO PROVIDE FOR TAGGING AND SHIPMENT OF ALLIGATOR SKINS; TO PROVIDE
 FOR A SEVERANCE TAX ON ALLIGATOR SKINS; TO PROHIBIT THE TAKING OR POSSESSION
 OF ALLIGATORS OR THEIR EGGS, SKINS, OR PARTS, EXCEPT AS PROVIDED HEREIN; TO
 PROVIDE FOR THE REVOCATION OF LICENSES ISSUED UNDER THIS CHAPTER UNDER CERTAIN
 CIRCUMSTANCES; TO PROVIDE FOR CONFISCATION OF CERTAIN ALLIGATOR SKINS; TO
 PROVIDE FOR THE DISBURSEMENT OF LICENSE FEES AND TAXES; TO PROVIDE FOR THE
 EFFECT UPON LICENSES ISSUED UNDER THIS CHAPTER IN THE EVENT THE FEDERAL
 GOVERNMENT PLACES ALLIGATORS IN AN ENDANGERED SPECIES STATUS; TO PROVIDE FOR
 PENALTIES AND FORFEITURES FOR THE VIOLATION OF THIS CHAPTER AND REGULATIONS
 PROMULGATED UNDER IT; AND TO PROVIDE FOR EXEMPTIONS FROM CERTAIN PENALTIES FOR
 PERSONS TAKING, POSSESSING, STORING, TRANSPORTING, PROCESSING, SELLING,
 OFFERING FOR SALE, BUYING, OR SHIPPING OF AN AMERICAN ALLIGATOR (ALLIGATOR
 MISSISSIPPIENSIS) OR EGGS, PARTS, OR PRODUCTS OF AN ALLIGATOR RAISED BY AN
 ALLIGATOR FARMER ON AN ALLIGATOR FARM PURSUANT TO THIS CHAPTER.

   04/07/99  House  Introduced and read first time HJ-3
   04/07/99  House  Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural
                     Resources and Environmental Affairs HJ-4



A BILL

TO AMEND TITLE 50, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO FISH, GAME, AND WILDLIFE, BY ADDING CHAPTER 14 SO AS TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA ALLIGATOR FARMING ACT OF 1999"; TO DEFINE "ALLIGATOR FARM", "ALLIGATOR FARMER", "ALLIGATOR PART", "ALLIGATOR PARTS DEALER", "DIRECTOR", "DEPARTMENT", AND "TRANSPORT"; TO PROVIDE FOR ENGAGING IN THE BUSINESS OF PROPAGATING ALLIGATORS; TO PROVIDE FOR ALLIGATOR FARMING LICENSING AND FEES; TO PROVIDE FOR MARKETING, TAKING, TAGGING, AND TRANSPORTATION OF ALLIGATOR CARCASSES AND SKINS IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES; TO REQUIRE AND PROVIDE FOR PROPERTY RIGHTS IN CERTAIN ALLIGATORS AND PARTS THEREOF; TO PROVIDE FOR LICENSES AND FEES FOR ALLIGATOR PARTS DEALERS, RETAIL, AND RESTAURANTS; TO PROVIDE FOR ALLIGATOR PARTS TRANSACTION FORMS, BILLS OF SALE, AND RETENTION OR INSPECTION OF RECORDS OR BILLS OF SALE RELATING TO ALLIGATOR TRANSACTIONS; TO PROVIDE FOR ALLIGATOR PARTS TAGS; TO PROVIDE FOR TAGGING AND SHIPMENT OF ALLIGATOR SKINS; TO PROVIDE FOR A SEVERANCE TAX ON ALLIGATOR SKINS; TO PROHIBIT THE TAKING OR POSSESSION OF ALLIGATORS OR THEIR EGGS, SKINS, OR PARTS, EXCEPT AS PROVIDED HEREIN; TO PROVIDE FOR THE REVOCATION OF LICENSES ISSUED UNDER THIS CHAPTER UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES; TO PROVIDE FOR CONFISCATION OF CERTAIN ALLIGATOR SKINS; TO PROVIDE FOR THE DISBURSEMENT OF LICENSE FEES AND TAXES; TO PROVIDE FOR THE EFFECT UPON LICENSES ISSUED UNDER THIS CHAPTER IN THE EVENT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PLACES ALLIGATORS IN AN ENDANGERED SPECIES STATUS; TO PROVIDE FOR PENALTIES AND FORFEITURES FOR THE VIOLATION OF THIS CHAPTER AND REGULATIONS PROMULGATED UNDER IT; AND TO PROVIDE FOR EXEMPTIONS FROM CERTAIN PENALTIES FOR PERSONS TAKING, POSSESSING, STORING, TRANSPORTING, PROCESSING, SELLING, OFFERING FOR SALE, BUYING, OR SHIPPING OF AN AMERICAN ALLIGATOR (ALLIGATOR MISSISSIPPIENSIS) OR EGGS, PARTS, OR PRODUCTS OF AN ALLIGATOR RAISED BY AN ALLIGATOR FARMER ON AN ALLIGATOR FARM PURSUANT TO THIS CHAPTER.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION 1. Title 50 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"CHAPTER 14

South Carolina Alligator Farming Act

Section 50-14-10. This chapter may be cited as 'The South Carolina Alligator Farming Act of 1999'.

Section 50-14-20. For the purposes of this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) 'Alligator farm' 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 and meeting other specifications prescribed by the department, where alligators are bred and raised under controlled conditions.

(2) 'Alligator farmer' means a person who raises alligators under controlled conditions which prohibit free movement of the animals onto and off of the farm or controlled area, and who may harvest alligators under the supervision of the department.

(3) 'Alligator part' means any part of the carcass of an alligator, except its skin.

(4) 'Alligator parts dealer' means any person who deals in alligator parts and who buys from an alligator farmer for the purpose of resale; or manufactures within the state alligator parts into a finished product; or purchases, cans, processes, or distributes alligator meat for wholesale or retail; provided, that a retailer selling canned alligator parts or a retailer purchasing alligator parts from an alligator parts dealer or a restaurant selling prepared alligator meat for human consumption must not be classified as an alligator parts dealer.

(5) 'Department' means the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

(6) 'Director' means the director of the department.

(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 means whatsoever.

Section 50-14-30. Any person, firm, or corporation may engage in the business of propagating alligators on an alligator farm for restocking, propagation, and other commercial purposes by complying with the provisions of this chapter and thereafter may sell either live alligators to other licensed alligator farmers only, or the parts or skins of farm-raised alligators to any person, for any purpose, including sale for food, either within or without this state.

Section 50-14-40. Whoever desires to engage in the business of raising, exhibiting, and selling alligators on alligator farms must apply to the department for a license to do so. If it appears that the application is made in good faith, upon payment of five hundred dollars, an alligator farmer license may be issued permitting the applicant to breed, propagate, exhibit, and sell live alligators to other licensed alligator farmers, or sell their skins and parts and to kill and transport them and sell their skins and parts as provided in this chapter. A person lawfully exhibiting alligators in a circus or zoo or in a similar animal, reptile, or wildlife show at a place or location other than on an alligator farm regulated by this chapter, is exempt from the license and fee requirements of this chapter.

Section 50-14-50. Alligators raised on licensed breeding farms may be sold alive to other licensed alligator farmers only, or taken for their skins or for food, according to regulations promulgated by the department. All skins must be tagged according to regulations of the department. The severance tax, as provided in Section 50-14-110, must be paid before the raw alligator skins are sold or shipped within or without the state, and a written affidavit as to the number and kinds of skins sold or shipped must be furnished to the department as specified. No alligator carcass or parts intended for sale must be shipped, transported, sold, or offered for sale unless tagged according to department regulations.

Section 50-14-60. Whoever has possession of an alligator or alligator parts on a posted or fencedNext alligator farm must have a property right in the alligator or alligator parts and must be the owner or employee of the owner of the alligator farm. Whoever enters the alligator farm and catches, takes, or attempts to catch or take alligators when the area has been posted or Previousfenced according to law must be punished as though the alligators were ordinary domestic animals subject to the property rights of the owner under the laws of the State of South Carolina.

Section 50-14-70. (A) Each alligator parts dealer must secure an alligator parts dealer license from the department before commencing business. The license must be secured annually and must be furnished upon the payment of one hundred dollars.

(B) Each retailer selling canned alligator parts or purchasing alligator parts, and each restaurant selling prepared alligator meat for human consumption must secure a license from the department before commencing business. The license must be secured annually and must be furnished upon payment of five dollars.

Section 50-14-80. (A) Any licensed alligator farmer may sell alligator carcasses or parts, provided he completes an official alligator parts transaction form, furnished by the department, for every alligator parts transaction. These forms must be submitted to the department at 30-day intervals until all parts are sold.

(B) Any alligator parts dealer purchasing alligator parts, other than skins, must complete an official alligator parts transaction form for each purchase. Any alligator parts dealer selling alligator parts, other than skins, must complete an official alligator parts sale form for each sale. These forms must be furnished by the department and must be submitted to the department at thirty-day intervals until final disposition of all parts. Each alligator farmer and parts dealer must furnish a bill of sale to each retailer or

restaurant purchasing alligator parts.

(C) Any retailer or restaurant purchasing alligator parts must maintain a bill of sale for each purchase for a period of six months after the purchase. These records must be available for inspection at any and all reasonable hours by the director, his law enforcement officers, or any other persons appointed and designated by him for inspection purposes.

(D) The records of transaction involving alligator parts of alligator farmers and parts dealers must be available for inspection at any and all reasonable hours by the director, department law enforcement officers, or any other persons appointed and designated by the director for inspection purposes. Each parts dealer must maintain complete records for a period of one year following any transaction.

Section 50-14-90. Each alligator farmer must tag with an official alligator parts tag, furnished by the department, all carcasses, meat, or nonedible alligator parts prior to sale and upon dissection from the carcass. This tag must be completed in full and remain attached to the carcass or part until final disposition by the alligator farmer, parts dealer, or consumer if purchased directly from an alligator farmer.

Section 50-14-100. All raw alligator skins shipped within this state must be tagged so as to show the number and kinds of skins in the shipment, the consignor, shipping point, consignee, and destination. The department must supply suitable tags to all shippers requiring them for actual shipments. No alligator skin intended for shipment within this state must be accepted by any post office, express company, or agent, or the agent of any common carrier, unless there is attached to one of the packages composing the shipment to each consignee one of the tags specified herein.

Section 50-14-110. (A) There is hereby levied a severance tax on each alligator skin taken from any alligator within this State, payable to the State through the department by the alligator farmer selling or shipping his skins within or without the State or taking his own catch out of state, at the rate of one dollar on each skin. Failure to pay the severance tax subjects all alligator skins held by a delinquent alligator farmer to confiscation by order of the department. Failure to maintain complete records and to pay the severance tax as provided herein subjects an alligator farmer to the penalties provided in this chapter and to the immediate revocation of his license by the department. No license may be issued to any alligator farmer who has not paid the severance tax for the preceding year.

(B) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than one hundred dollars or more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned from not more than thirty days, or both.

Section 50-14-120. (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 chapter. The provisions of this section do not apply to legal finished products, alligators or parts thereof legally acquired prior to the effective date of this act, or alligators harvested or collected under a permit from the department.

(B) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than one hundred dollars or more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned from not more than thirty days, or both.

Section 50-14-130. All license fees and taxes resulting from the provisions of this chapter must be paid into the State Treasury to the credit of the department.

Section 50-14-140. Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, in the event the federal government places the alligator in an endangered species status, all licenses issued pursuant to this chapter will be null and void upon the earlier of the following dates:

(1) the expiration date of said licenses; or

(2) one year from the date that the federal government placed the alligator in an endangered species status.

Section 50-14-150. Any person licensed as an alligator farmer under Section 50-14-40 convicted of violating any of the provisions of this chapter will have his license canceled and all alligators, alligator parts, and alligator skins in his possession, upon conviction, are forfeited to the department. These will be disposed of by the department through public auction and the proceeds thereof deposited in the State Treasury to the credit of the department. Any alligator farmer having his license so canceled will be ineligible to purchase a license for a period of five years. After five years, the person may purchase an alligator farmer license only on written recommendation of the director of the department.

Section 50-14-160. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person taking, possessing, storing, transporting, processing, selling, offering for sale, buying, or shipping of an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) or eggs, parts, or products of an alligator raised by an alligator farmer on an alligator farm pursuant to this chapter is not subject to the penalties otherwise prescribed for taking, possessing, storing, transporting, processing, selling, offering for sale, buying, or shipping of an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) or eggs, parts, or products of an alligator or to the penalties prescribed for a violation of Section 50-15-80."

SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

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