Texas: Protect Your Right to Hunt & Fish – Urge Your Lawmaker to Support HJR 61 and SJR 22
State Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) pre-filed Senate Joint Resolution 22, proposing an amendment to the Texas constitution that protects the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife in the Lone Star State. An identical measure, House Joint Resolution 61, was pre-filed in the House on December 17.
HJR 61, introduced by state Representative Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), and SJR 22, sponsored by Senator Creighton, would ensure that future wildlife conservation and management decisions are based on sound science in order to preserve Texas’ hunting heritage for generations to come. Language for the resolution includes the following:
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. Hunting and fishing are preferred methods of managing and controlling wildlife.
Adding the Right to Hunt & Fish to the state constitution would protect Texas’ rich sporting tradition from well-funded efforts by national extremist groups to ban hunting. This important constitutional safeguard will protect wildlife and promote conservation, which are efforts that Texas sportsmen have spearheaded for generations, significantly contributing to the state’s diverse and flourishing wildlife populations.
If passed, the language contained in the joint resolutions will be presented for a public vote in November 2015. Currently, 18 states have adopted some form of a right to hunt and fish constitutional protection.
The Texas Legislature convenes for its 2015 Regular Session on Tuesday, January 13. There have been a significant number of changes in the Texas Senate and House due to legislative retirements and results from the 2014 elections. State lawmakers are moving offices, incoming members have yet to be sworn in, and committee assignments will not be made for several weeks. NRA-ILA will provide you that information as it becomes available, as well as a more comprehensive update on firearm-related bills that have been pre-filed thus far.
In the meantime, please spread the word about HJR 61 & SJR 22 to your fellow gun owners and sportsmen and urge them to support these important measures! Encourage them to sign up for FREE legislative alerts from NRA-ILA during session by clicking here. This is the easiest way to stay informed of bills in Austin affecting our Second Amendment rights and hunting heritage.
State Constitutional Right to Hunt and Fish – From Natl. Conference of State Legislatures
Eighteen states guarantee the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions, with 17 of those approved via the voters. While Vermont’s language dates back to 1777, the rest of these constitutional provisions—in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming—have passed since 1996. California and Rhode Island have language in their respective constitutions guaranteeing the right to fish, but not to hunt. Advocates also consider Alaska’s constitutional language—“Wherever occurring in their natural state, fish, wildlife, and waters are reserved to the people for common use”—as meeting the test because of its strong case law history.
Currently in 2015, 9 states—Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Texas—are debating bills that would add a constitutional right to hunt and fish. West Virginia considered two bills, but they both failed.
Mississippi became the 18th state with a constitutional right to hunt and fish provision with 88 percent of voters in favor of the amendment. Alabama voters, nearly 80 percent of them, refined already existing language, adding that hunting and fishing are the “preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.”
Eight states— Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia—considered bills in 2014 proposing the creation of a state constitutional amendment to protect the right to hunt and fish. The Indiana legislature adopted a resolution calling for an amendment establishing the right to hunt and fish in their constitution, but it must also pass in the 2015 or 2016 legislative session to be placed on the ballot.
2012 Election Update
In November of 2012, voters in four more states—Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Wyoming—overwhelmingly passed legislatively referred ballot measures to add a constitutional right to hunt and fish. Seven other states—Hawaii, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Pennsylvania—considered legislation to amend the constitution to add the right to hunt and fish in 2012, but were unsuccessful.
2010 Election Update
Arizona, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Tennessee had measures on the 2010 ballot to enshrine the right to hunt and fish in their state constitutions. The measures in Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee passed, but Arizona became the first state to reject such an initiative.
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Posted by: Charlie Middleton