Lawmakers defend hunting, fishing… proactively
April 6th, 2011
Lincoln, NE – Lawmakers spent hours debating whether to add hunting and fishing protections to the state constitution, in advance of any attempts to limit them.
The Legislature resumed debate on a proposal to protect rights to hunting, fishing and trapping. The resolution by Omaha Senator Pete Pirsch would ask voters next year if they want to put the proposal in the state constitution. Supporters said itâ€™s important to head off attempts by groups like the Humane Society of the United States to limit hunting â€“ an initiative that group says itâ€™s not interested in pursuing.Nevertheless, Sen. Mark Christensen of Imperial said lawmakers should pursue the amendment. â€œWhen we bring this issue forward, and we discuss it, it gets the press, it gets known around the state,â€ he said. â€œAnd people start understanding hey, the Legislature thought this was important. We better pay attention to whatâ€™s going on. Letâ€™s not be the sleeping dog that gets attacked, and weâ€™re trying to play catch up. Letâ€™s be proactive. Letâ€™s go after this.â€
Opponents generally said they support hunting and fishing, but the amendment was unnecessary because attempts to limit them would go nowhere in a state so overwhelming favorable to those activities. But Omaha Senator Tanya Cook challenged that consensus.
â€œNebraska is a diverse state,â€ she said. â€œPeople get on the microphone and talk about how they want their kids and grandkids to stay here. And every time you jump on the microphone and say how great it was on the farm, and how much you want to hunt and fish and do whatever it is you like to do, that makes some people just want to pack up and leave.â€
â€œMy bet is that if the economy were better on the coasts, they wouldnâ€™t be coming back in the droves you claim theyâ€™re coming back in.â€
The Legislature adjourned for the day without reaching a first-round vote on the bill.