Buried deep within the completely unrelated America COMPETES Act (HR4521) are proposed amendments to the Lacey Act. The Lacey Act impacts what can be imported into the US, and - if so amended - what can be transported between the states. The original wording regarding travel between the states was vague, so in 2017 a federal court ruled that the Lacey Act did NOT prohibit interstate travel. These amendments explicitly reverse that.
More importantly, these amendments would change the Lacey Act from a blacklist system to a whitelist system. So instead of a few problem species being declared illegal and put on a blacklist, instead the most common animals would be put on a legal whitelist, and everything not mentioned would be assumed illegal. Any species not on the whitelist would be unable to legally cross state lines or enter the country from abroad.
If the amendments are passed, any species that was not imported or transported between states in "more than minimal quantities" during the preceding year will be considered illegal to import or transport between states. That means your common petstore animals like Mongolian gerbils are safe, but rarer more specialist species like fat-tailed gerbils are at risk. Notably, "minimal quantities" is not defined; lawmakers have up to a year after the amendments pass to actually provide a number.
For all species that don't make that undefined cutoff, the Secretary of the Interior has to declare that they don't "pose a significant risk of invasiveness to the United States". This is a federal law, so that means the US as a whole. Species that hold a potential for invasiveness in one state's climate but not others still wouldn't be added to the whitelist. Beyond that, it's notoriously difficult to prove a negative. So getting more species added to the initial whitelist won't be a walk in the park.
Violations of the Lacey Act can be prosecuted as federal felonies. Unfortunately, if this passes, a lot of species will be unable to access quality veterinary care (which is often in the next state over), and eventually die out in the US due to restricted gene pools.
This act has already passed the House, and now sits before the Senate. Please tell your senators to vote NO on Lacey Act Amendments in the America COMPETES Act.
This page provides information on the Lacey Act amendments and how to contact your senators: https://usark.org/2022lacey/
Here are the actual amendments: https://usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/2022-HR4521-excerpt.pdf