A group of state senators on Tuesday resurrected last year’s attempt to elevate to the North Carolina constitution protections for hunting and fishing.
Senate Bill 677 would put the question to voters in the November 2018 election. If approved, an amendment would be added to the constitution to safeguard those hobbies as legal rights.
Bill sponsors said hunting and fishing are not under assault now, but they want to prevent future legal challenges that could come about. They said 21 other states have taken this step.
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The three bill sponsors — Sen. Danny Britt from Robeson County, Sen. Norman Sanderson from Pamilico County and Sen. Andrew Brock from Davie County — are lifelong hunters. They issued a joint statement:
“This constitutional amendment will protect for future generations the hunting and fishing rights that have always been part of our heritage and way of life — and it will ensure North Carolina remains a sportsman’s paradise.”
The bill includes a provision that establishes public hunting and fishing as “a preferred method of managing and controlling wildlife.”
The proposal has the support of the National Rifle Association and several hunting organizations.
Last year senators approved the same proposal. It was eventually wrapped up in a package of three proposed constitutional amendments that would have capped the state’s income tax rate at a lower level and limited government use of eminent domain to seize private property. The package was never voted on in the House.
The amendment would not grant the right to hunt or fish on private property.