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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ind. Law - "How the NRA is larding state constitutions with frivolous, redundant 'right to hunt' amendments"

The heading is from this article by Craig Fehrman posted today in Slate. Some quotes:

To date, the states that have passed right-to-hunt legislation are largely in the South (Arkansas, Alabama) and West (Nebraska, North Dakota). But the idea seems to be migrating east. Seven state legislatures broached it in 2012, including those in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. “We'll continue to work on passing this legislation in other states moving forward,” says Samford, the NRA spokeswoman.

What she means, of course, is in other state constitutions. That raises a larger point: More and more, we're seeing legislators and interest groups clutter our constitutions with current events. One reason the lines at Florida polling places stretched so long this November was that voters had to parse 11 different amendments to their state's constitution. Michigan voted on six new amendments, including ones on renewable energy and on collective bargaining. Aren't constitutions supposed to be foundational and philosophical documents—documents that are insulated from this kind of petty maneuvering?

ILB: Indiana's General Assembly adopted a "right to hunt" constitutional amendment in 2011. If it passes again this session (2013) or in 2014, the question of its ratification will appear on the 2014 ballot.

Here is the text of this proposal to amend Article 1 of our Constitution, the Indiana Bill of Rights (see SJR 9 here):

ARTICLE 1 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF INDIANA IS AMENDED BY ADDING A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS: Section 38. The people have a right to hunt, fish, harvest game, or engage in the agricultural or commercial production of meat, fish, poultry, or dairy products, which is a valued part of our heritage and shall be forever preserved for the public good, subject only to laws prescribed by the General Assembly and rules prescribed by virtue of the authority of the General Assembly. Hunting and fishing shall be the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. This section shall not be construed to limit the application of any provision of law relating to trespass or property rights.
For background, see this April 11, 2011 ILB entry.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 20, 2012 04:20 PM
Posted to Indiana Law