Lawmakers propose right to hunt and fish constitutional amendment
With reproductive rights and recreational marijuana before Ohio voters this fall, two state lawmakers now want to amend Ohio’s constitution to protect hunters and anglers from what they say are “misguided policies or special interest groups”.
Republican State Representatives Nick Santucci of Howland and Ron Ferguson of Wintersville have introduced a joint resolution calling for an amendment that would establish a constitutional right to hunt and fish.
"This joint resolution is about more than just preserving traditions,” said Ferguson in a joint news release. “It's about safeguarding our state's rich environment, supporting rural economies, and protecting individual rights. We must stand together to ensure these rights are not eroded by misguided policies or special interest groups."
Ferguson did not elaborate on what he meant by misguided policies or special interest groups.
According to the representatives, Ohioans purchased 479,000 hunting licenses last year, adding that hunting contributes $1.3 billion annually to Ohio's economy and supports 15,500 jobs.
“Hunting and fishing add over a billion dollars to Ohio’s economy every year, supporting not only jobs but funding critical conservation efforts,” said Santucci in the release.
According to Santucci, since 1996, 23 states have amended their constitution to protect hunting, angling, and trapping, with the most recent state being Utah in 2020
HJR 5 awaits committee assignment. If House Joint Resolution 5 is passed by the legislature, the measure would go before Ohio voters in 2024. The resolution still awaits assignment to a committee in Columbus.