1. Idaho HJR2: Making Hunting & Fishing a Constitutional Right
Other States With Similar Ballot Measures: Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Wyoming
The Amendment: Along with freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and a right to a trial by jury, the Declaration of Rights in Idaho’s constitution would include the right to hunt, fish, and trap. Already overwhelmingly approved in the state legislature, constitutional amendments must be voted on in a general election.
In a state where hunting and fishing are so popular, it would stand to reason that this measure would pass handily. That’s not necessarily the case. The inclusion of trapping, an unpopular but particularly inhumane and cruel practice, has caused considerable concern even among the most ardent hunters and gun enthusiasts. Pets have also been caught in traps.
Who’s Funding It: The National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Idaho Department of Fish and Wildlife helped write the amendment. The NRA, in fact, has been lobbying state legislatures across the nation or these types of constitutional amendments for over 15 years.
Potential Issues: Some constitutional scholars are concerned that the proposed amendment would extend rights to something that, well, isn’t a “fundamental” right like the right to free religious practice. Instead, it’s more like a right to, as one scholar told the Spokesman-Review, the right to “ride a bicycle or smoke.” Also at issue? Well, there’s concern that the ballot measure could open the state up to lawsuits about hunting regulations — and in turn deregulate the practice.