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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - "Hoosiers to vote on hunting rights this fall"

Maureen Hayden, CNHI State Reporter, takes a good look today at the constitutional amendment that will appear on November's ballot. Some quotes from the story published in the Terre Haute Tribune Star:

Voters this fall may enshrine a right to hunt and fish in the same article of the state Constitution that protects freedom of speech and the right to a speedy trial.

Included on the same ballot on which Hoosiers will pick the next president and governor is Public Question 1, which asks if they want to “forever preserve” the right to harvest the state’s wildlife.

If voters approve the so-called Right to Hunt and Fish amendment, Indiana will join 19 other states that have enshrined similar language in their constitutions as part of an effort spearheaded by the National Rifle Association. * * *

“No one’s rights are under attack,” said Erin Huang, head of the Humane Society’s Indiana chapter.

She said the measure, once locked into the Constitution, could complicate the management of the state’s wildlife and open the state to lawsuits against hunting restrictions, such as limits on deer season.

In addition to declaring a right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife, the amendment says “hunting and fishing shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.” * * *

For 20 years, the NRA has worked with state legislatures on similar measures, saying they're needed to stave off well-funded efforts by national animal advocacy groups to ban hunting. * * *

The full text of Public Question 1 on this fall's ballot, the proposed "Right to Hunt and Fish" amendment, reads:

Article 1 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana is amended by adding a new section to read as follows:

Section 39. (a) The right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife:

(1) is a valued part of Indiana's heritage; and

(2) shall be forever preserved for the public good.

(b) The people have a right, which includes the right to use traditional methods, to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, subject only to the laws prescribed by the General Assembly and rules prescribed by virtue of the authority of the General Assembly to:
(1) promote wildlife conservation and management; and

(2) preserve the future of hunting and fishing.

(c) Hunting and fishing shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.

(d) This section shall not be construed to limit the application of any provision of law relating to trespass or property rights.

ILB: Notably, this proposed addition to the Bill of Rights reads much like a statute. But if ratified, it will be part of Indiana's Constitution and rules of constitutional interpretation will apply. Among these is the ability of the courts to examine the drafters' intent, just as they look to the 1850 Indiana Constitutional Debates when construing other provisions of our constitution.

[More] The ILB has been writing about this since 2005 - see the long list.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 21, 2016 08:39 AM
Posted to Environment | Indiana Government