Proposed amendment aims to make hunting, fishing and trapping a constitutional right.
The Kansas House of Representatives will consider a constitutional amendment establishing hunting, fishing, and trapping as rights.
If the measure passes it would make Kansas the 19th state with an outdoor rights constitutional amendment.
Representatives Adam Lusker, a Democrat from southeast Kansas, and Travis Coutoure-Lovelady, a Republican from the north-central part of the state, co-authored and are sponsoring the measure. “Vermont put it in their state constitution in 1777, so it’s nothing new by any means, to protect those basic rights and not have a threat of outside groups to come in our state at some point and try to impede them,” Lusker said. “We felt like this amendment would protect that right and those freedoms forever — as long as we are a state.”
Attempts by animal rights groups to infringe on the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers are part of the reason the bill was proposed.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals opposes constitutional amendments like this. “It can make it difficult to ban practices that a lot of citizens would find offensive,” said Kristin Simon, a PETA cruelty casework manager. The national organization pledges to mobilize their Kansas members to oppose the measure.
They probably face an uphill battle.
PETA’s Kansas membership is 13,000. Hunters, anglers, trappers and wildlife watchers number around 1.2 million in Kansas. They spend over $900 million in pursuit of outdoor recreation every year according to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism. Over 219,000 Kansas residents and 64,500 non-residents purchased hunting and fishing licenses in 2014.
The legislation must pass both the Kansas House and Senate, then go before voters.