‘Right to Hunt and Fish’ Amendment Passes Senate

The bill's author says hunting and fishing rights need to be protected, but opponents worry it would limit state regulation.

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Photo: M. Glasgow

The proposed amendment would put in the state’s constitution a right to hunting, fishing and animal farming.

An amendment guaranteeing the right to hunt and fish is one step closer to becoming part of the Indiana Constitution after the state Senate approved the measure Monday.

“A sacred heritage” is what Senator Brent Steele (R-Bedford) says he wants to protect.

The proposed amendment would put in the state’s constitution a right to hunting, fishing and animal farming. Steele says those rights, which already exist under Indiana law, are under threat from groups such as the Humane Society. But Senator Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) says the threat is imagined.

“Senator Steele, I respect your need to wanting to hunt and fish,” he says. “But nothing you’ve said in your presentation makes me think the United States is ever going to take away that right.”

And Taylor says he’s worried the amendment will make it harder for the General Assembly to easily regulate hunting, fishing and farming in the future.

But Steele says his amendment does not rule out rules or regulations passed by the General Assembly or state agencies.

“So IDEM is still in control of such things as fertilizer and sewage from CAFOs. The Department of Natural Resources still controls all wildlife and hunting seasons of what game may be hunted,” he says.

The amendment passed the Senate 38-10. If passed by the House, it would go on the ballot in 2014 for voters to approve.

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