Arkansas Hunting Rights Amendment, Issue 1 (2010)

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An Arkansas Hunting Rights Constitutional Amendment was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Arkansas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. Approveda The measure was proposed to allow residents the right to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest wildlife in the state. The measure was sponsored by Steve Faris.[1][2]

The state legislature can only refer up to three constitutional amendments to the Arkansas Constitution for any one ballot. This measure was one of three legislatively-referred constitutional amendments that were on the ballot[3]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
Arkansas Issue 1 (Hunting Rights)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 612,495 82.78%
No127,44417.22%

Results via Arkansas Secretary of State Election Results.

Text of amendment

Ballot title

According to the Arkansas Secretary of State's official website, the ballot title read as follows:

Amending the Arkansas Constitution to provide for a constitutional right to hunt, fish, trap and harvest wildlife.[4]

Summary

The summary of the amendment, according to the 87th Legislative Session, read as follows:

This resolution proposes to amend the Arkansas Constitution to provide for a constitutional right for citizens of the state of Arkansas to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest wildlife. The resolution states that the right would be limited only by the regulations consistent with Amendment 35 of the Arkansas Constitution.[5]

Constitutional changes

The measure was proposed to amend the Arkansas Constitution by adding the following section to read:[6]

Section 1.

(a)(1) Citizens of the state of Arkansas have a right to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest wildlife.

(2) The right to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest wildlife shall be subject only t 1 o regulations that promote sound wildlife conservation and management and are consistent with Amendment 35 of the Arkansas Constitution.

(b) Public hunting, fishing, and trapping shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling nonthreatened species and citizens may use traditional methods for harvesting wildlife.

(c) Nothing in this amendment shall be construed to alter, repeal, or modify:

(1) Any provision of Amendment 35 to the Arkansas Constitution;
(2) Any common law or statute relating to trespass, private property rights, eminent domain, public ownership of property, or any law concerning firearms unrelated to hunting; or
(3) The sovereign immunity of the State of Arkansas.

The amendment will go into effect on February 2, 2011[7].

Support

Supporters

  • Steve Faris, sponsor of the amendment, stated: "It's better to be safe on the front end than wait and deal with the problem when it's too late. Hunting is a right that is a given, but it could be taken away – especially when we see more lawsuits asking for all kinds of hunting to be banned."[1]

Arguments

  • The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action stated that if the measure was enacted by voters, the amendment would provide the strongest right to hunt and fish in the United States.[8]
  • Steve Faris argued, "Outdoor activity and tourism and hunting and fishing are a bit part of the draw to the state of Arkansas and also a big part of the lives of people who are here. We put that in there to protect those various things. This just takes it a step further.”[9]

Opposition

Opponents

  • No main campaign had formed against the measure, however, there were groups that had stated their opposition to the measure.[9]
  • According to Kay Simpson, director of the Pulaski County Humane Society stated about the measure, "I don't know where this is stemming from. At this point I think something that should be on the ballot that's way more important than taking away a right that no one wants to take away is sterilization of animals."[10]
  • Lindsay Rajt, manager of the campaign department for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, stated that the measure was unnecessary, claiming, “If we have the right to hunt and trap, then what’s next? The right to shop or golf?”[9]

Arguments

Arguments that were made against the measure, or to other similar measures meant to authorize the right to hunt and fish, included:

  • According to reports, opponents in other states with similar measures on the statewide ballot made the argument that the state constitution was not the right venue to place language that would protect the right to hunt and fish.[8]
  • The organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals stated that the amendment would "open the door to a flood of other amendments whose sole purpose is to make political statements to benefit special interest groups.”[8]

Media endorsements

See also: Endorsements of Arkansas ballot measures, 2010

Support

  • The Times Record endorsed the measure, along with the two other measures on the ballot, writing in an editorial, "We recommend you vote FOR constitutional protections of hunting fish and trapping; FOR changing interest caps and supporting energy efficiency; and FOR creating more flexibility in incentives for new business. All three are votes FOR Arkansas."[11]

Polls

See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures

A poll asking whether voters supported or opposed the measure was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. on January 18-20, 2010. The poll was commissioned by the Arkansas New Bureau/Stephens Media and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Results of the survey follow:[12]

Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
Jan. 18-20, 2010 Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. 54% 20% 26% 625

Path to the ballot

See also: How the Arkansas Constitution is amended

The amendment was referred to the November 2, 2010 ballot after the Arkansas House of Representatives and the Arkansas State Senate approved of the measure on April 6, 2009. A majority vote is required in both chambers of the Arkansas State Legislature to refer a measure to the ballot. (See Section 22, Article 19, Arkansas Constitution.)[2]

Similar measures

See also Certified 2010 hunting ballot measures

Similar measures that were certified for the ballot in other states in 2010 included the following:

See also

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External links

References