For Kentuckians, election ballots this year will feature a proposal to amend the state’s constitution that its proponents assert will protect hunting and fishing from ever becoming banned in the future.
The question officially asked of Kentucky voters will be,
Are you in favor of amending the Kentucky Constitution to state that the citizens of Kentucky have the personal right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, subject to laws and regulations that promote conservation and preserve the future of hunting and fishing, and to state that public hunting and fishing shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife?
Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo is one of the bill’s nearly 70 co-authors. He told reporters, “that’s a big step, I think, in the right direction to help not only this generation of sportsmen, but the next.”
If the bill is passed, any future attempt to ban or prohibit hunting, fishing or trapping may only be approved by amending the constitution again, which would require another popular vote.
The citizens of Nebraska, Wyoming and Idaho will also vote on similar measures this year.
Vermont is the only state that currently has constitutional protections in place for hunting and fishing, according to an informational pamphlet published by the state Legislative Research Commission.
Since 1996, states have voted on similar measures. Those states include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana. Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. All but one state passed the amendement; Arizona was the only state in which the amendment failed.
If Kentucky voters approve the amendment, it will go into effect immediately.