Politics & Government

Florida bill pushes to ban sale of exotic reptiles

As a bill banning the sale and trade of Burmese pythons and other invasive reptiles came up for a vote at a House committee hearing Wednesday, sponsor Rep. Trudi Williams made a mockly stern request:

"No hissing, members," the Fort Myers Republican said.

The week before, when the bill was presented to a different House committee, members noted their approval with a tongue-in-cheek "Yessss."

Such is the life of an animal bill trying to become law. They draw bad jokes, dramatic anecdotes and scads of lobbyists. In a year when cost is key, proposals like the python bill — with no tax dollars attached but plenty of political juice — become exceedingly popular among legislators.

"It's a good year for these kinds of bills," said Janet Bowman of the nonprofit environmental group, The Nature Conservancy, "because they don't have fiscal impact."

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