AB 96 would close a loophole that allows ivory sales for products brought to California before 1977.
The bill’s author, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, has said the measure is intended to reduce elephant and rhino poaching.
Supporters say California is home to one of the world’s largest illegal ivory trades. They say many products are advertised as antiques or crafted to look older so they’ll appear legal under state law.
Opponents, including Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, called the measure "a feel good law" that won't be effective. He and Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Riverside County, said the bill could make criminals out of long-time ivory collectors.
The bill returns to the Assembly for a final vote.