Nebraska voters might decide this fall whether state residents will have a constitutional right to hunt, fish and trap.
The legislature has advanced a constitutional amendment, LR 40CA. One more successful vote sends it to the ballot in November.
Sen. Brenda Council of Omaha, during floor debate, accused supporters of moving to head off a threat that doesn’t exist.
“There’s not threat. It’s not real,” Council stated. “It’s imagined and, in fact, it’s exaggerated.”
Other senators criticized the measure as unnecessary and questioned whether it would spawn unintended consequences. They suggested the measure be pulled until supporters more thoroughly considered their objections.
Council, though, proved to be the most vocal critics during debate in the legislative chamber.
She claimed the resolution had little to do with hunting or fishing, but is really just another attempt to keep the Humane Society of the United States from coming to Nebraska to regulate livestock production.
“If we’re afraid of the Humane Society of the United States coming in and stopping the residents of the state of Nebraska from livestock production, why don’t we put it in our constitution that Nebraskans have a constitutional right to raise livestock for consumption,” Council said. “Get to the point.”
Supporters say the threat is real.
Sen. Tony Fulton of Lincoln told colleagues he had hesitated to support the constitutional amendment in the past, believing it wasn’t necessary.
“But the reason I’ve changed my mind is because I’ve had a chance to reflect on what is actually going on. And that is, the urbanization of Nebraska is causing an entire generation to be removed from theses traditions that we have grown up assuming,” according to Fulton. “And I dare say that if this goes one more generation then folks like HSUS will have fertile ground with which to operate.”
Sponsor Pete Pirsch of Omaha brushed aside the reservations raised by critics and state the resolution is pretty simple.
“The underlying purpose of this LR is to preserve and protect what exists now,” Pirsch said.
LR 40CA needs to win final approval before it goes to the November ballot.