Hunters hoping to import or export big-game trophy animals such as lions through New Jersey airports and ports would be banned from doing so under a bill moving through the Legislature.
The Assembly environment committee approved the measure Monday.
Lawmakers said the proposal comes in response to the killing of Cecil, a Zimbabwean lion, whose death sparked protests over the summer.
The measure is designed to protect a number of animals, including the African elephant, African leopard, African lion, and black and white rhinoceroses.
If enacted, a violation of the measure could result in a $100,000 fine and prison time of up to 18 months.
Lawmakers said they hope the bill would discourage hunters from killing endangered animals for sport.