SJR 2 has been introduced by Senator Steele and it brings back a proposed constitutional amendment that has already been adopted once by a General Assembly.
Section 39. (a) The right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife:
(1) is a valued part of Indiana’s heritage; and
(2) shall be forever preserved for the public good.
(b) The people have a right, which includes the right to use traditional methods, to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, subject only to the laws prescribed by the General Assembly and rules prescribed by virtue of the authority of the General Assembly to:
(1) promote wildlife conservation and management; and
(2) preserve the future of hunting and fishing.
(c) Hunting and fishing shall be a preferred means of managing
and controlling wildlife.
(d) This section shall not be construed to limit the application of
any provision of law relating to trespass or property rights.
I’m generally against amending the constitution, and this is no exception. I know the meaning of every word in that proposed amendment, but I still don’t understand what this amendment does. My best guess is that it’s a sop to those people who have a strong cultural affinity for hunting and fishing. (I’m not entirely sure what “harvesting wildlife” means, but it reminds me of Mr. Burns’ method of stitching together millions of six-pack holders together into a net which he uses to catch tons of sea life, in order to make “Li’l Lisa’s Patented Animal Slurry”: a multi-purpose edible compound.)
As for “traditional fishing,” one venerable tradition is that it be safe to eat the fish you catch, and I’m not sure the fish in the waters of Indiana really meet that condition. Could this provision be used to challenge acts that contaminate Indiana waters? Or would that be construing the provision to limit property rights? And if this provision is a dead letter any time it comes into contact with some sort of property right, what’s left?