Alexander Working To Prevent Government From Seizing Musical Instruments Made Of Imported Wood

Friday, May 18, 2012

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) announced Friday he is working to make clear that the Lacey Act “was not intended to seize instruments made of wood harvested before 2008.”

“Senator Wyden and I are going to write the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service a letter in the next couple of weeks and try to make it clear that wood harvested before 2008 to make musical instruments can’t be seized by the federal government. I don’t want the musicians from Nashville who are flying to Canada to perform this summer to worry about the government seizing their guitars. The Justice Department and Fish and Wildlife have said they have no intention of doing that, but Sen. Wyden and I are going to make it absolutely clear. We hope to get a clear ruling within a few weeks, and if we can’t get a clear ruling, we’ll introduce legislation to change the Lacey Act.

“We are also working to make clear which laws apply and don’t apply to businesses importing and manufacturing with wood, and to remove burdensome regulations on importers and instrument manufacturers.”

In a roundtable discussion Thursday, Senator Alexander and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), with representatives from the music and wood import industries and environmental conservation groups, worked toward establishing what Alexander described as “the best ways to make changes to the Lacey Act in order to give companies and individuals more certainty about importing wood and provide clearer protections against the illegal harvest of wood.”

Senator Alexander added: “We’re committed to creating a safe harbor for instruments made before 2008—this law was never intended to apply to those instruments. We are also working to give companies more certainty about importing wood, by requiring the federal government to inform importers of foreign wood whether the law applies to them or not. We will also work with importers to make it more efficient to comply with the law’s paperwork requirements. We are still working on other aspects of the law, particularly in dealing with penalties on the importation of wood harvested after 2008.

“We held this roundtable because instrument makers like Gibson Guitars in Tennessee are an important part of our music industry, and if the Lacey Act as written is keeping them from being able to get the wood they need to make instruments, we need to make every effort to fix the regulation.

“The law was intended to prevent illegal logging and protect U.S. job that are threatened by illegal logging, it was never intended to seize instruments or wood products that were obtained prior to the passage of the Lacey Act amendments in May 2008 because they were made from imported wood—and when laws have unintended consequences, Congress has a responsibility to promptly make changes.”

The group worked to establish a solution to the four problems it identified with the law:

· the threat to individuals traveling internationally of confiscation of musical instruments made of wood harvested before 2008

· the uncertainty of U.S. interpretation of foreign laws;

· the burdensome and unclear paper work requirements on importers of foreign wood

· the inability of importers to reclaim confiscated wood after the company has been cleared of violating the Lacey Act.



Chattanooga Chamber Business Calendar For April 20-27

April 24, Leadership Chattanooga Alumni Association (LCAA) AM Regathering 7:30-9 a.m. The Camp House: 149 East M.L. King Blvd. Join Leadership Chattanooga graduates at the monthly “regathering” for coffee and conversation.   April 24, East Brainerd Chamber Council Meeting 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Car Barn: 6721 Heritage Business Ct. Speaker: Alexa LeBoeuf of UnifiEd ... (click for more)

Tennessee Society Of CPAs Hosts Client Financial Advisors Panel Thursday

The Tennessee Society of CPAs is meeting Thursday with a guest panel to talk about the growing trend of CPAs working directly with their client’s financial advisors to help families save as much as possible. The meeting will be held from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Chattanooga Convention Center. (click for more)

Federal Jury Finds Gillispie Guilty Of 6 Counts In Sex Trafficking Case

A federal jury on Wednesday morning found Corrie Gillispie guilty of six counts in his sex trafficking trial. Gillispie was ruled guilty of two counts of sex trafficking, two counts of kidnapping, one count of transporting a person across state lines for prostitution, and one count of money laundering.  The panel found him not guilty of another charge of transporting ... (click for more)

Attorney Says There Was No Valid Reason To Euthanize Monteagle Family's Pet Raccoon Boomer

A Chattanooga attorney who specializes in wildlife cases says there was no valid reason for health officials to have euthanized a pet raccoon belonging to a family in Monteagle. Candace Bone said the family had owned "Boomer" for three years after getting her from an approved raccoon farm. She said, "We are all devastated. He was just like a baby to us. Boomer slept between ... (click for more)

A Tribute For My Brother – Sgt. Jonathan Gardner, U.S. Army

Seven years ago today, my family and I found out that my brother, Sgt. Jonathan D. Gardner, was seriously injured by a roadside bomb, (explosively formed penetrator - EFP), while on a mission in Kuwait. The EFP went through the bottom of his seat and put a softball size hole in his upper thigh. The doctors said that if the bomb had entered the Humvee an inch to the right, he ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Teacher's Pay Cut

The Hamilton County School Board will hold a “working session” Thursday afternoon as steps continue to formulate the FY2019 budget and it is a frightening process in a badly-broken system. Everybody knows it is equally embarrassing and after watching teachers who “have had enough” go on strikes in Oklahoma, West Virginia and Kentucky this spring, I guarantee you that Tennessee is ... (click for more)