Heider’s Hunting Amendment Clears Committee
By Melissa Davlin [email protected]
| Posted: Thursday, February 9, 2012 1:15 am | (0) Comments
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BOISE • Hunting and fishing are integral parts of Idaho's identity. But should the right to participate be inked into Idaho's Constitution?
That's a question Sen. Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls, would like to see on November's ballot. On Wednesday, he introduced a joint resolution that would allow Idahoans to vote on adding an amendment to Idaho's constitution that would protect the right to hunt, fish and trap.
When explaining his reasons for introducing the legislation, Heider recalled teaching his kids to hunt.
"This year I took two of my grandchildren and watched them shoot their first deer," he said. "All these things become memorable in our lives." And that right must be preserved for future generations, he said.
The two-sentence proposed amendment says the rights to hunt, fish and trap "shall forever be preserved for the people through the laws, rules and proclamations of the state." It also makes it clear that the amendment doesn't create a right to trespass on private property, divert water sources or infringe on other private rights.
Heider said his original proposal was much longer, but he pared it down to make it simpler and easier to understand. He based the amendment off other states' constitutions.
Committee members supported the idea, but took issue with some of the wording. Sen. John Tippets, R-Montpelier, suggested the words “subject to”may create a more specific, viable law than“preserved.”
Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, gave a hypothetical scenario where a low-income person couldn't afford hunting tags.
"Then they are being denied what we have granted them as a constitutional right," Werk said. And if the person successfully sued using that premise, it could endanger the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's ability to manage wildlife, Werk said.
Heider said the wording that specifies "through the laws, rules and proclamations of the state" should protect the state from those legal actions.
After discussion, the committee voted to send the joint resolution to the Senate with a recommendation to pass it. Werk voted against the move.
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