The first test for a proposed bill that would ban captive orca performances in California will happen on Tuesday, when the bill gets a hearing in the Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee. Senate bill AB 2140, of the California Legislature in Sacramento, was introduced by Assemblymember Richard Bloom, D–Santa Monica. The bill would only apply to SeaWorld San Diego -- the only park in California that holds captive orcas -- though it would also bar California parks from keeping orcas in the future, and set a precedent for the rest of the country. The measure will also outlaw the park's captive orca breeding program, and allow the 10 orcas kept in San Diego to remain on public display in larger "sea pens" if they cannot be returned to the wild.
SeaWorld has asked the voting committee to throw the bill out but, as the San Diego Union-Tribune reports, the amusement park may be facing a tough crowd:
There are 10 Democrats and five Republicans on the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. The chairman is Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, who successfully carried legislation last year to ban hunters from using lead bullets by 2019. Rendon and six other Democrats on the panel received perfect marks in 2013 from the Humane Society of the U.S., a supporter of banning killer whale shows. Two others were graded at 67 percent while one assumed office too recently to judge.