Kentucky Hunting and Fishing Amendment, House Bill 1 (2012)

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House Bill 1
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Kentucky Constitution
Referred by:Kentucky State Legislature
Topic:Hunting
Status:Approveda
The Kentucky Hunting and Fishing Question, also known as House Bill 1, was a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment on the November 6, 2012 general election ballot in the state of Kentucky, where it was approved.

The measure protected the right of residents to hunt and fish in the state. It was sponsored by Representatives Leslie Combs and Greg Stumbo. The measure was proposed in order to mandate that hunting and fishing should never be outlawed in the state without the vote of the people.[1][2]

The measure was introduced in Kentucky's 2011 legislative session. According to Stumbo: "That's a big step I think in the right direction to help not only this generation of sportsmen, but the next. We have a wonderful heritage of sports in this state. Kentucky was and still is the happy hunting ground."

Election results

See also: 2012 ballot measure election results

The following are official election results:

Kentucky House Bill 1 (2012)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,298,340 85%
No238,32015%

Results via the Kentucky Secretary of State.

Text of measure

Summary

The summary of the bill read:[3]

An Act proposing to amend the Constitution of Kentucky relating to hunting, fishing, and harvesting wildlife.

Ballot Language

The following was ballot language that voters saw on the ballot:[4]

Are you in favor of amending the Kentucky Constitution to state that the citizens of Kentucky have the personal right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, subject to laws and regulations that promote conservation and preserve the future of hunting and fishing, and to state that public hunting and fishing shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildife?

Yes

No[5]

Support

  • Bill Haycraft, president of the League of Kentucky Sportsmen, commented on animal rights groups and the possibility of those groups lobbying for making hunting illegal at the time, "They have lots of money. They're highly educated. And if they can swing it with the legislatures, they will do it."[6]
  • According to House Speaker Greg Stumbo, "The real meat of this amendment to me is that it guarantees that the wildlife herds and our fishery population will be controlled by wildlife management."[7]
  • Nick Shack, hunter and state resident, stated, "I take a lot of pride in [hunting]. It gets me outside. It connects me with the past and the traditions of being outside hunting. It is camaraderie. I take a lot of hunting trips with friends. When I grew up, everyone deer hunted. It was a common thing, something we looked forward to every year."[8]

Opposition

  • Although he did not give his position either for or against the measure, Don Dugi, a political scientist at Transylvania University in Lexington stated, "There is no threat that this amendment would remedy. This is occurring in a number of states, and it's sponsored by groups like the NRA to solidify their political position. It could be that, by making this a guarantee, they're hoping to get some tenuous protection against gun control, if anyone were ever to attempt that here."[9]
  • According to Evansville Courier-Press columnist John Lucas, "Adding an amendment to the constitution won't bring back the good ol' days. If we Kentuckians really want to protect hunting, we would encourage the state as some others do to pay landowners to preserve habitat and allow access. We would also demand the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources manage its recreation areas to provide a variety of opportunities rather than catering to the deer hunting crowd. I'm going to vote no on the amendment, but it really doesn't matter one way or another. A paragraph in the constitution won't bring back the quail and rabbits or the fencerows, branch rows and meadows that sustained them. We would do just as well to add a lament for the buffalo."[10]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Kentucky Constitution

On February 8, 2011, the Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee voted to approve the measure, passing the amendment to the Kentucky House of Representatives for full debate and vote. The measure was then approved by the House, sending the measure to the Kentucky State Senate for a similar vote. Then, on March 1, 2011, the Senate State and Local Government Committee voted to approve the measure with a unanimous vote, placing the measure for a full chamber debate and vote. On March 4, 2011, the measure was approved and appeared on the statewide ballot in 2012.[11][7][12]

60% of the membership of each chamber of the Kentucky General Assembly must approve of a proposed amendment in order for it to appear on the next general election during which members of the state legislature are up for election.

Timeline

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The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:

Event Date Developments
Vote Feb. 11, 2011 Kentucky House of Representatives approve the measure.
Vote Mar. 4, 2011 Kentucky State Senate approves measure, sending it to the ballot.

See also

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References