Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

March 10, 2014

Right to hunt, fish debate delayed

Changed wording pushes back fight.

(Continued)

It returned in 2011 with new language that sought to protect the right “to engage in the agricultural or commercial production of meat, fish, poultry, or dairy products.” That version passed, though rules for amending the Constitution require the Legislature to twice pass identical language.

Earlier this year, lobbyists representing farmers pulled their support after opponents, lead by the Hoosier Environmental Council, argued the amendment would prevent future laws protecting private landowners and regulations limiting factory farms and puppy mills.

Steele reluctantly pulled the farming language, blaming agricultural interests as gutless. “I told them to grow some horns because they’re going to get run around the pasture, and there’s no language that’s going to mollify the opposition,” he said at the time.

A newly worded resolution – minus the farming language – starts the process anew. The exact language contained in Senate Joint Resolution 9 will have to be passed by the next elected General Assembly before it can go before voters.

In theory, the same fate awaits House Joint Resolution 3, which would amend the state Constitution to lock in a state law that currently bans same-sex unions. In 2012, the Legislature passed an amendment banning both same-sex marriage and civil unions. It dropped the civil union language this year, restarting the process.

A lawsuit filed Friday – challenging the constitutionality of Indiana’s law that bans same-sex marriage – could end that process.

Opponents of Indiana’s right to hunt and fish amendment wish it would also go away, too.

“You don’t just amend the constitution on a whim,” Huang said. “It’s a sacred document. Amending it should be reserved for issues we’re really worried about.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaureenHayden.

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