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.


First Tennessee March Of Service Promotes Volunteerism

Continuing a tradition launched following the celebration of its 150th anniversary in 2014, First Tennessee is once again promoting “March of Service” projects to benefit local nonprofits. The annual volunteer effort is a call to action for First Tennessee workers to invest in their communities. Each March the company’s 4,300 employees pitch in to participate in service projects ... (click for more)

Georgia’s Unemployment Rate Declines To 5.3 Percent In February, As State Sets Records For Employment And Labor Force

The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the state’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 5.3 percent in February, down two-tenths of a percentage point from 5.5 percent in January. In February 2016, the unemployment rate was also 5.5 percent. “Our unemployment rate fell as Georgia set new record highs for the number of people employed and for the ... (click for more)

Pet Dog Dies In Trailer Fire Near Signal Mountain Road

A pet dog died in a trailer fire off Signal Mountain Road on Wednesday night.   Chattanooga firefighters responded to a structure fire around  9:30 p.m.  in a mobile home park at 174 Bledsoe Terrace. The woman who lived there told Battalion Chief Carlos Hampton that she had just left for work when the fire was discovered. The firefighters got the ... (click for more)

Fingerprint Evidence Leads To Arrest Of Antonio Patton Is Armed Robbery Of Store On Bonny Oaks Drive

Fingerprint evidence has led to the arrest of Antonio Preze Patton for the robbery of a store on Bonny Oaks Drive last Dec. 2. Patton, 27, of 2829 5th Ave., is charged with aggravated robbery. Police were notified of the late-night holdup at the Mystik Mart. The clerk said two black males entered the store with their heads covered with hoodies. They appeared to be looking ... (click for more)

Repeal Obamacare, Congressman Fleischmann - And Response (2)

Chuck: I'm writing to express my strong opposition to the plan that is being rolled out by Paul Ryan to replace Obamacare. And as I'm writing this, I'm remembering all the times you and all of your Republican colleagues over the last six years campaigned on REPEALING  Obamacare and used that call to action as the basis for your reelection. And I'm also remembering the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: You, The Bald-Headed Lady

You were wearing a pretty sweat shirt and blue jeans when I saw you outside the Infusion Center at Erlanger Hospital on Wednesday. You were the one who was nearly bald and I was the guy you greeted with a huge smile as we said hello in passing. You reminded me exactly of my brother Franklin. Years ago when chemotherapy began to rob him of his hair, Franklin was pretty devastated ... (click for more)