CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.R. 5566 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Tuesday, July 20, 2010, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) on June 22, 2010. The Committee on the Judiciary ordered the bill to be reported by a vote of 23-0 on June 23, 2010.
H.R. 5566 would amend Section 48 of title 18 of the U.S. Code to make it a crime for anyone to knowingly and for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain sell or offer to sell, or distribute or offer to distribute, an animal crush video in interstate or foreign commerce. The bill would allow a fine or imprisonment of no more than five years, or both, to be levied.
The bill does not prohibit the sale, distribution, or offer for sale or distribution, of any visual depiction of customary and normal veterinary or agricultural husbandry practices; or hunting, trapping, or fishing.
The bill defines “animal crush video” as any obscene photograph, motion-picture film, video recording, or electronic image that depicts actual conduct in which one or more living animals is intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, or impaled in a manner that would violate a criminal prohibition on cruelty to animals under federal law or the law of the state in which the depiction is created, sold, distributed, or offered for sale or distribution.
According to CBO, implementing H.R. 5566 would have no significant cost to the federal government. The legislation could affect direct spending and revenues, so pay-as-you-go procedures would apply, but they estimate that any such effects would not be significant. CBO expects that H.R. 5566 would apply to a relatively small number of offenders, however, so any increase in costs for law enforcement, court proceedings, or prison operations would not be significant. Any such costs would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
Because those prosecuted and convicted under H.R. 5566 could be subject to criminal fines, the federal government might collect additional amounts if the legislation is enacted. Criminal fines are recorded as revenues, deposited in the Crime Victims Fund, and later spent. CBO estimates that any additional revenues and direct spending would not be significant because of the small number of cases likely to be affected.