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Kansas Voters Could Add the Right to Hunt and Fish to the State Constitution

by Countable | 11.1.16

Should individuals have the constitutional right to hunt and fish? Nineteen states have included that right in their constitutions and this November, Kansas could join them.

What the Referendum Does

This referendum would amend the state constitution to preserve the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife for the public good. The right to hunt and fish would only be constrained by the legislature’s ability to pass laws promoting wildlife conservation and management and preserve the future of those pastimes.

Additionally, the amendment states that hunting and fishing would be the preferred method of managing and controlling wildlife. Nothing in the amendment would limit the application of laws related to trespassing or property rights.

This referendum will appear on Kansas ballots on November 8 as "Constitutional Amendment 1."

In Favor

Hunting and fishing are a part of the fabric of this country and deserve constitutional protection. Environmental groups and animal rights advocates have been incrementally trying to restrict the rights of hunting and fishing enthusiasts.

Opposed

This is unnecessary. The right to hunt and fish shouldn’t be protected by the state constitution; it’s not as important as the right to free speech or other inalienable rights. It’s not like there’s a threat of fishing and hunting being banned or severely restricted.

In Depth

This proposed amendment was referred to voters by the state legislature, which needed to pass the amendment with at least a two-thirds majority in both chambers. The Kansas House passed it on a 117-7 vote in February 2016, while the Senate approved it unanimously on a 36-0 vote.

Nineteen states have constitutionally guaranteed the right to hunt and fish, while California and Rhode Island protect the right to fish in their constitutions. Vermont became the first state to include protections for hunting and fishing in its constitution back in 1777, but all the other amendments have been passed in the last 20 years following Alabama’s 1996 amendment.

Voters in Indiana will be considering a similar constitutional amendment when they cast their ballots on November 8.

— Eric Revell

Countable

Written by Countable

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