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Sponsors: Reps. Umphlett, Witherspoon, Loftis, Young, Lowe, Jefferson, Dantzler, Gambrell, Hardwick, Harvin, Knight, Limehouse, E.H. Pitts, Toole, White and Mahaffey
Document Path: l:\council\bills\gjk\20452sd08.doc
Introduced in the House on January 10, 2008
Currently residing in the House Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs
HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS
Date Body Action Description with journal page number ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1/10/2008 House Introduced and read first time HJ-351 1/10/2008 House Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs HJ-352 1/16/2008 House Member(s) request name added as sponsor: Mahaffey
View the latest legislative information at the LPITS web site
VERSIONS OF THIS BILL
TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 50-15-65 SO AS TO AUTHORIZE THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES TO ESTABLISH AN ALLIGATOR CONTROL PROGRAM FOR THE HUNTING AND FOR THE REMOVAL OF ALLIGATORS FROM PUBLIC LAND, TO PROVIDE FOR THE TERMS, CONDITIONS, FEES AND COSTS OF THIS PROGRAM, AND TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR CERTAIN VIOLATIONS; BY ADDING SECTION 50-15-52 SO AS TO PERMIT HUNTING OF ALLIGATORS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY AND WATERS WITH THE PROPERTY OWNER'S CONSENT UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, AND TO REQUIRE THAT A PERSON WHO KILLS AN ALLIGATOR UNDER THIS SECTION MUST MAKE EVERY REASONABLE EFFORT TO PROPERLY DISPOSE OF THE CARCASS WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME PERIOD; TO AMEND SECTION 50-15-50, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO MANAGEMENT OF NONGAME AND ENDANGERED WILDLIFE, SO AS TO DELETE A PROVISION PERMITTING THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES TO ISSUE PERMITS TO CERTAIN PERSONS ALLOWING THE REMOVAL AND DISPOSITION OF ALLIGATORS; TO AMEND SECTION 50-15-80, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO PENALTIES FOR CERTAIN VIOLATIONS OF THE NONGAME AND ENDANGERED SPECIES CONSERVATION ACT AND THE DISPOSITION OF CONFISCATED PROPERTY, SO AS TO FURTHER PROVIDE FOR WHAT ACTIONS GIVE RISE TO THE PENALTY PROVISIONS; AND TO REPEAL SECTION 50-15-60 RELATING TO COST OF SPECIFIED PROGRAMS AND ALLIGATOR-PRODUCTS PERMITS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Chapter 15, Title 50 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 50-15-65. (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 USC 1531) and the regulations issued to implement that act. American alligators may now be taken under federal law in compliance with 50 CFR 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) The department must establish an alligator control program that allows for hunting and for selective removal of alligators on public land 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 an alligator to be taken at any time of the year, on any public land, including sanctuaries, as part of its alligator control program. An alligator taken under such an alligator control program must be taken pursuant to conditions established by the department in accordance with state and federal law. Except for a person issued or operating under authority of a depredation tag, a person who hunts, takes, or attempts to take an alligator must have a South Carolina hunting license.
(C) The department may issue an alligator tag to allow the recreational harvest of an alligator on public land in a game zone where alligators occur. A person desiring to hunt and take an alligator under this program must apply to the department. The application fee for this program is ten dollars and is nonrefundable. Successful applicants for the program must be randomly selected. An applicant selected for the program is required to pay a one hundred dollar fee for a tag issued by the department.
(D) The department may designate alligator control agents who demonstrate by training and experience that they possess the skills to remove alligators. Those persons so designated serve at the discretion of the department. The department periodically may require an alligator control agent to demonstrate his skill or undergo training. An alligator control agent functions 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.
(E) 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 must be fined not less than one hundred dollars or more than one hundred fifty dollars, imprisoned for up to thirty days, or both. The magistrates court retains jurisdiction of this offense.
(F) A person who hunts or takes an alligator, 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 or more than two thousand five hundred dollars, imprisoned for up to thirty days, or both. The magistrates court retains jurisdiction of this offense. In addition, the court may order restitution for an animal or animal part taken, possessed, or transferred in violation of this section.
(G) Revenue including fines, forfeitures, sales, and fees derived from this section must be deposited in the Wildlife Protection Fund and used by the department to support the alligator control program."
SECTION 2. Chapter 15, Title 50 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 50-15-52. (A) Notwithstanding another provision of this chapter and subject to the other requirements of this section, a person may use a firearm to hunt, kill, and possess an alligator on private lands or private waters wholly encompassed within private property, but only if the property owner consents.
(B) A person who kills an alligator by firearm as permitted in this section must make every reasonable effort to properly dispose of the carcass at the time of harvesting the alligator or within a reasonable time period thereafter if immediate efforts to secure the alligator carcass are unsuccessful. A person holding a permit to hunt an alligator on private lands under this section is required to have in his possession a gaff, grappling hook, or other device which will enable him to immediately make a diligent effort at the time he harvests the alligator to secure the carcass of the alligator and properly dispose of it at an off-site location. If the person is unable to secure and dispose of the carcass at the time of harvesting, he must continue those efforts thereafter for a period of at least forty-eight hours in order to secure and properly dispose of the carcass.
(C) For the purpose of implementing the provisions of this section, the Department of Natural Resources is authorized to issue permits each year based on the population of alligators in a particular game zone of this State for the hunting and taking of one alligator per permit on private lands only with the use of firearms from April first to May thirty-first of each year. The permits for the hunting and taking of alligators issued pursuant to this section are valid on private lands only and alligators must be taken while in the water or on adjacent banks within ten feet of a body of water. The cost for the permit is ten dollars each. "
SECTION 3. Section 50-15-50 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 246 of 2004, is further amended to read:
"Section 50-15-50. (A) The board shall establish such programs, including acquisition of land or aquatic habitat, as are deemed necessary for management of nongame and endangered wildlife. The board shall utilize all authority vested in the department to carry out the purposes of this section.
(B) In carrying out programs authorized by this section, the department may enter into agreements with federal agencies, political subdivisions of the State, or with private persons for administration and management of any area established under this section or utilized for management of nongame or endangered wildlife.
(C) The Governor shall encourage other state and federal agencies to utilize their authorities in furtherance of the purposes of this section.
(D) The department may permit the taking, possession, transportation, exportation, or shipment of species or subspecies of wildlife which appear on the state list of endangered species, or species in need of management on the United States' List of Threatened or Endangered Native Fish and Wildlife, as amended and accepted in accordance with Section 50-15-40(d), or on the United States' List of Threatened or Endangered Foreign Fish and Wildlife, as such list may be modified hereafter, for scientific, zoological, or educational purposes, for propagation in captivity of such wildlife, or for other special purposes.
(E) Upon good cause shown, and where necessary to alleviate damage to property or to protect human health, endangered species may be removed, captured, or destroyed but only pursuant to permit issued by the department and, where possible, by or under the supervision of an agent of the department; provided, that threatened or endangered species or species in need of management may be removed, captured, or destroyed without permit by any person in emergency situations involving an immediate threat to human life. Provisions for removal, capture, or destruction of nongame wildlife for the purposes set forth above shall be set forth in regulations issued by the department pursuant to Section 50-15-30(a).
(F) In addition to programs established under this chapter, the department may issue permits at any time of year and on any area, including a sanctuary, for the removal and disposition of alligators to property owners, property owners' associations, property holding companies, and local governments or their agents without further review. Such permits shall specify the number and size of the alligators to be removed, the area from which the animals may be removed, the methods of removal, reporting requirements, disposition of parts and products of the animals taken, and other conditions, as needed."
SECTION 4. Section 50-15-80(A) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 246 of 2004, is further amended to read:
"(A) A person who violates
Section 50-15-50(F), Section 50-15-30, or regulations promulgated pursuant to Section 50-15-30 or a person who fails to procure or violates the terms of a permit issued under the regulations is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days and ordered to pay restitution."
SECTION 5. Section 50-15-60 of the 1976 Code is repealed.
SECTION 6. If any section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this act is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such holding shall not affect the constitutionality or validity of the remaining portions of this act, the General Assembly hereby declaring that it would have passed this act, and each and every section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, and word thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more other sections, subsections, paragraphs, subparagraphs, sentences, clauses, phrases, or words hereof may be declared to be unconstitutional, invalid, or otherwise ineffective.
SECTION 7. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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