Durkin questions House priorities during debate over ivory trafficking
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) told his peers last week that criminal penalty legislation should take precedent over restrictive wildlife rules.
During remarks came during House floor debate on April 23 of HB4843, sponsored by Rep. Marty Moylan (D-Des Plaines), which would ban the sale of ivory in the state of Illinois. Durkin said he was embarrassed to even be debating Moylan's bill.
Durkin called out both GOP and Democrat lawmakers for their banter over Moylan’s bill, but first reminded them of legislation recently denied in the Judiciary Criminal Committee that would enhance penalties for human trafficking and child sex offenders while providing stricter sentencing for assault on state workers.
“But today were taking on ivory traffickers in the industry, so folks, don’t laugh about this and think about priorities,” Durkin said.
Durkin said he would not vote for Moylan’s bill, especially after the criminal penalty bills were killed in committee two weeks earlier.
“I don’t think that this bill is appropriate for this body, and I am asking my members not to vote for this,” Durkin said.
Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard) said he knew Moylan’s bill would be coming down the pike, and he was hoping in the legislation introduction the sponsor would offer a story of someone attempting to import or sell ivory in Illinois that would justify the passage of the bill.
The fact that 30,000 elephants are killed annually for their tusks is reason enough, according to Moylan, who noted California and China are considering similar legislation.
Breen noted the bill's ironic immunity of the sale of ivory in a firearm in the legislation proposed by Moylon, who had sponsored a bill to ban bump stocks in March.
“So, you are doing a pro-gun bill with your ivory ban,” Breen said.
“We are always trying to help out,” Moylan said.
After an outburst of laughter on the floor, Rep. David Olsen (R-Downers Grove) asked Moylan if he currently owned any ivory.
“I don’t recall at this time as Jeff Sessions would say,” Moylan said.
Using a Steinway piano for example, Olsen asked if he would be allowed to sell that musical instrument under Moylan’s bill, to which Moylan responded by asking Olsen if he was currently taking piano lessons.
“Representative, I am asking the questions here,” Olsen said.
Olsen confirmed an item with ivory can be willed to a family member under Moylan’s bill.
When ten asked asked if the legislation was duplicative of federal law, Moylan said there cannot be too much protection on the matter.
The playful interchange was rejected by Durkin.
“I don’t think this is a bill we should be doing at this time,” Durkin said.
The House passed HB4843 on a 61-44 vote and the bill moved to the Senate.