WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rand Paul and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell today reintroduced the Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures (FOCUS) Act of 2015. This legislation removes each and every reference to “foreign law” within the Lacey Act and substitutes the Lacey Act’s criminal penalties with a reasonable civil penalty system.
The Lacey Act, originally passed in 1900, is a conservation law that attempts to prohibit the trafficking of “illegal” wildlife, fish and plants. It has since expanded into an extremely broad and vague law with harsh criminal penalties. Of particular concern is the law’s extensive and unspecific delegation of congressional power to foreign governments. Such a delegation runs afoul of Article I of the Constitution, which vests all legislative powers in the United States Congress.
“The Lacey Act is a prime example of what happens when the government oversteps its bounds. I am in favor of protecting the environment, but I believe that can be done without needlessly burdening American workers and businesses and making criminals of ordinary Americans who have not violated any American laws. The FOCUS Act will reverse the negative effects of the Lacey Act and rid all references to obeying foreign laws on American soil,” Senator Paul said.
“I am proud to join Senator Paul in offering this important legislation which helps restore the primacy of our Constitution,” Senator McConnell said. “The FOCUS Act replaces harsh and unfair criminal penalties reliant on foreign law for trafficking in wildlife, fish, and plants, with a reasonable and sensible civil penalty system that reestablishes Congress’s authority to regulate these matters.”
Click HERE to read the FOCUS Act in its entirety.