Hoosiers: There Is a Constitutional Vote on your Ballot – Right to Hunt and Fish

On November 8, Hoosiers will find on their ballot Public Question 1. It is a constitutional amendment to alter the Indiana Bill of Rights. Question 1 is described as adding a constitutional right to the Indiana Constitution to permit hunting, fishing, and trapping “subject only to the laws prescribed by the General Assembly and rules prescribed by virtue of the authority of the General Assembly.” In my short prior review, I stated such an amendment was unnecessary as the Indiana Constitution already protects these rights.

The Bill of Rights contains no other section requiring any other right be subject to the laws of the General Assembly or other authorities of the General Assembly. When did a right become alterable by the government?

This is not a constitutional amendment. If Hoosiers grant the General Assembly and their authority agencies the power to change terms of a constitutional document they are violating the Constitution itself.

The constitutional protections of individual rights are used to determine the constitutional validity of any other legislation. When an amendment is set up such as this one to self-determine the laws there are no provisions limiting government control. This amendment is self-evolving and not requiring the approval of a constitutional amendment. Any subsequent changes the power to change the provisions of this “Right” rests with the General Assembly and the agencies, not the people.

My objection to the language is that there is specific control granted to the government when there can be none if it is a right. The qualifications of “subject only to the laws prescribed by the General Assembly and rules prescribed by virtue of the authority of the General Assembly” place the government in control meaning this is a privilege, not a right. Not only does the General Assembly have direct control but also any agencies they have prescribed with powers over wildlife can change any requirements. No inclusion in eliminating the licensing or any other requirement is contained and given the inclusive specific language of being “subject only to” it appears there is no intent to remove any regulations.

Do we want the Constitution a document prescribed to protect existing rights to be altered to include a privilege?

I would say no because then all provisions of protection may be viewed as being able to be amended to include such government control of a right making it a privilege.

The ballot title is as follows:

Public Question #1
Shall the Constitution of the State of Indiana be amended by adding a Section 39 to Article 1 to provide that the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife shall be forever preserved for the public good, 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?”

The ballot summary is as follows:

“Provides that the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife is a valued part of Indiana’s heritage and shall be forever preserved for the public good. Provides that 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. Provides that hunting and fishing are the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. Provides that this constitutional amendment does not limit the application of any laws relating to trespass or property rights. This proposed amendment has been agreed to by one general assembly.”

Constitutional changes

See also: Article 1, Indiana Constitution

Public Question 1 would add a Section 39 to Article I of the Indiana Constitution. The following text would be added by the proposed measure’s approval:

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.

Phyllis Klosinski is a lifelong inhabitant of Indiana from Mishawaka and has made Brown County her home for the last 40 years. As a wife, mother, grandmother, caregiver and homeowner Phyllis has experienced a full range of governmental changes imposing authority over the daily lives of individuals and their Sovereign Rights. She has actively opposed State and Special taxing units and continues to object to unauthorized legislated Indiana power at all levels of government.