Senate bill AB 2140 faced its first legislative hurdle today, when it was reviewed by the the Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee of the California Legislature in Sacramento. The bill was sent for interim study by the committee, who ordered that the bill be revised and returned to the committee in a year and a half. While the outcome was disappointing to some, the committee was not against the proposal -- in fact, two assembly members, including Chair Anthony Rendon, stated their support for the bill.
Introduced first by Assemblymember Richard Bloom, D–Santa Monica, the bill has provided a major rallying point for animal advocates, who cite the documentary "Blackfish" as the inspiration for the legislation.
In addition to Assemblymember Bloom, witnesses gave testimony at the hearing including Naomi Rose, a marine mammal expert with the Animal Welfare Institute, Deborah Giles, an orca expert at UC Davis and John Hargrove, a former orca trainer at SeaWorld. The Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Born Free USA and the Earth Island Institute were all in attendance to support the bill as well. During the bill's hearing, Assemblymember Bloom called SeaWorld's orca shows "glorified circus acts."