Indiana lawmakers weigh 'right to hunt' amendment for 2nd time

Amendment would make hunting 'forever preserved'

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana lawmakers are again taking up a proposed state constitutional amendment that would guarantee the right of residents to hunt, fish and farm.

The state Senate's agriculture committee was set to hold a public hearing on the proposal Monday morning at the Statehouse.

State Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, said he is sponsoring the amendment in reaction to animal-rights activists who he believes are trying to interfere with legal hunting and livestock production.

Steele's resolution calls hunting and farming a valued part of Indiana's heritage and that they should be "forever preserved."

Both the Senate and the House approved the proposed amendment by wide margins during the 2011 session.

If the same version is approved by lawmakers this year, it would go before voters for a statewide referendum in 2014.

If the measure clears the legislative hurdles and is approved in the referendum, a new section would be added to the Indiana constitution that reads as follows:

"The people have a right to hunt, fish, harvest game, or engage in the agricultural or commercial production of meat, fish, poultry, or dairy products, which is a valued part of our heritage and shall be forever preserved for the public good, subject only to laws prescribed by the General Assembly and rules prescribed by virtue of the authority of the General Assembly. Hunting and fishing shall be the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. This section shall not be construed to limit the application of any provision of law relating to trespass or property rights."

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