A rural Utah lawmaker wants to amend the state Constitution to specifically protect the right to hunt, fish and otherwise take wildlife in a traditional manner.
Rep. Casey Snider, R-Paradise, has introduced HJR15, which says, subject to statutes enforcing the right,
“The individual right of the people to hunt, to fish, and to harvest wildlife is a valued
29 part of the State's heritage and shall be forever preserved for the public good.”
Snider says if the Legislature agrees, and citizens vote to amend the basic state document in November, Utah won’t be the first state to have some kind of constitutional guarantee to fish and hunt.
Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, even California, have changed their constitutions to ensure such rights.
“I want to float the idea out there,” said Snider.
Years ago, when GOP Utah legislators were worried that some outside environmental group would run a referendum locking up public lands in Utah, lawmakers approved -- as did voters -- a constitutional change requiring a super-majority two-thirds vote by citizens on referendums that dealt with the use of public lands.
His current amendment would further show that Utahns value the traditional way of fishing, hunting or otherwise taking/management of wildlife.
And that such practices are ensured in the state Constitution.
Hunting, fishing and other licenses, as well as a surcharge on ammunition, all help fund the Division of Wildlife.
The number of such licenses are steadily growing in Utah, while some other states are seeing a decrease in fishing and hunting, he said.
No advocacy group asked Snider to run the amendment, he said. “I want to see if there is support for such an idea here,” among voters.
It takes two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate to put a constitutional amendment on the general election ballot, and it passes with a majority vote of the citizens.