By Katie Orr
It may seem odd for California to take up the issue of illegal ivory sales. After all, there aren't any elephants or rhinos roaming freely around the state. But Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins says California actually plays a big role in the ivory trade.
"A 2008 report found that California has the second largest retail market for ivory in the country after New York," she says. On average 96 elephants are killed every day for their ivory.
Atkins' bill would close a loophole in state law that allows the sale of ivory items imported before 1977. She says it's difficult to visually date ivory, allowing merchants to sell new products as if they were older.
Opponents say they support conservation efforts but worry the bill could affect the sale and display of antiques that contain ivory.
The bill next moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Audiofile.