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TF&G - BALLOT

Proposition 6 on the ballot: The Texas Right to Hunt, Fish and Harvest, is on the ballot, November 3, 2015 as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment.

Voting yes to the amendment would add text to the state constitution preserving the right to hunt and fish, and recognize such activities as the preferred methods for wildlife management. The emphasis on “the preferred methods for wildlife management,” is my position.

Voting yes to the proposed amendment would add a Section 34 to Article 1 of the Texas Constitution. The following text would be added by the proposed measure’s approval:

“(a) The people have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, including by the use of traditional methods, subject to laws or regulations to conserve and manage wildlife and preserve the future of hunting and fishing.
(b) Hunting and fishing are preferred methods of managing and controlling wildlife.
(c) This section does not affect any provision of law relating to trespass, property rights, or eminent domain.
(d) This section does not affect the power of the legislature to authorize a municipality to regulate the discharge of a weapon in populated area in the interest of public safety.”

As of 2015, eighteen states have constitutional amendments providing for the right to hunt and fish. Vermont was the first state to constitutionalize such a right in 1777. The other sixteen states have all adopted right to hunt and fish amendments since 1996.

Supporters of the amendment:
Organizations…National Rifle Association, Texas State Rifle Association, Texas Outdoor Partners, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Farm Bureau, Dallas Safari Club, Coastal Conservation Association, Wildlife Habitat Federation, National Wild Turkey Federation, Saltwater-Fisheries Enhancement Association, and Ducks Unlimited.

State Senator, Brandon Creighton who introduced the legislation, said: “With recent lawsuits across the country successfully denying citizens certain hunting rights, our Texas heritage is threatened and needs protection. Our state has an obligation to take a strong stand on this issue.”

Representative Roland Gutierrez said that while he enjoys hunting and fishing, he disagrees with adding the amendment to the state’s constitution. He contended…
“At the end of the day, what we put in our constitution is important and our constitution isn’t a toy. It’s not an item or a document to be taken lightly. If we are asking to put things in our constitution that say this is a constitutional right to fish and hunt, how about our constitutional right to watch Sunday night football or our constitutional right to love the San Antonio Spurs? When we do these things to our constitution and make voters go out and vote for these things, it demeans the document and it demeans us.”

Lisa Lange, senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), criticized the amendment, calling hunting a “bloody pastime.” She stated…
“An amendment to protect the right to hunt and fish is bizarre and frivolous. It would clutter up the most important charter of government and open the door to a flood of other amendments whose sole purpose is to make political statements for special-interest group.”

Now it’s up to the voters to say what they think by voting on Nov. 3—let you voice be known. More information regarding this proposed amendment can be found at:
http://ballotpedia.org/Texas_Right_to_Hunt,_Fish_and_Harvest_Amendment,_Proposition_6

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