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.


Nearly $2 Million In Stolen Public Money Remains Uncollected

Theft and misuse of public money continue to be a concern as outlined in two reports released today by the Tennessee Comptroller’s office.   The 2014 Report of Cash Shortages updates the status of money stolen and missing from Tennessee’s 95 county governments as of June 30, 2014. The report documents money stolen during the 2014 fiscal year, as well as previous fiscal ... (click for more)

Grand Celebration Marks Completion Of Coolsprings Galleria

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. (NYSE: CBL), on Tuesday announced the opening of the redevelopment at CoolSprings Galleria in Nashville (Franklin), Tn. Designed to significantly enhance the offerings at the shopping center, the redevelopment of the former Sears location included adding a new mall entrance as well as retail space for a mix of fashion stores, and fine dining ... (click for more)

Man Killed By Train At Sale Creek

A man was struck and killed by a train in North Hamilton County on Wednesday evening. The sheriff's office said the incident occurred in Sale Creek.   (click for more)

Tram Up 1st Street That Proved A Dud Also Falters At Auction

Most of the 21st Century Waterfront development was a major success. Except for that non-working tram going up the steep hill at First Street. The city has finally given up on the unusual mode of transit and has placed it up for auction. But there were only four bids submitted and the high was only $92.50. The owners of the firm that built the tram, Outdoor Engineers ... (click for more)

The Truth About The Rising Costs To East Ridge On The Fire Hall Property

Re:East Ridge Has To Pay Unexpected $428,000 On Bass Pro Shop Deal   H ere is the truth about this article.    One section of the article says: " Unknown to anybody on the council today, the agreement limited use of the land to a fire hall."     In a letter dated Dec. 15, 2010, Mayor Lambert asked TDOT officials to ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: I Know About Dowries

There is a lawyer in Kenya who wants to meet President Barack Obama very badly. He knows the President will visit Kenya in July and the noble, young lawyer, Felix Kiprono, is very sincere when he says he wants to marry the oldest of the Obama daughters, 16-year-old Malia. He became interested in Malia in 2008 and can proudly say he has dated no other women since then, it has just ... (click for more)