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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Nebraska on the Right Foot

The North Platte Telegraph

A bill that would make it a constitutional right to hunt, fish and trap in Nebraska could be debated Monday. LR 40 CA was introduced by Sen. Pete Pirsch of Omaha and made a priority bill by the Natural Resources Committee.

If passed, voters would be asked on the November 2012 ballot if they would like to add this language to the state constitution: "Fishing, trapping and hunting are a valued part of the heritage of the people and will be a right forever preserved for the people subject to reasonable restrictions as prescribed by law."

Pirsch said the goal of the measure is to ensure the freedoms to hunt, fish and trap are not weakened or eliminated for future generations.

"If things are important to you, you protect them," he said. "Just as our forefathers took important concepts and included them in the constitution to make sure they were protected, so too, do I propose to protect these important freedoms that we take for granted."

It's a viewpoint he believes other Nebraskans will share.

"I think this is what the people view as important and fundamental," said Pirsch. "I think that the vast majority value these freedoms, and I'd hate to see them lose them. When you look at our 'good life,' it's tied so tightly to these types of activities."

He said the hobbies are crucial to the state's economy.

"When you look at the success of the Nebraska economy, especially the rural economy, it really depends on these activities," said Pirsch. "According to data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nebraska has 280,000 sportsmen that spend almost a half billion dollars every year. That spending supports $238 million in salaries, $54 million in state and local tax revenue and has a $746 million ripple effect."

The bill is also an attempt to be proactive. Pirsch said animal rights groups are already shutting down hunting in other states.

"We're talking about deep pockets, and it's not unrealistic to say people are swayed by the mass media even if what they're hearing is based on false portrayals," he said. "I think it's warranted, under these types of conditions, to take measures to protect fundamental freedoms we've had since before the beginning of our statehood."

Thirteen states have already adopted similar constitutional amendments. Tanya Hayes, senior legislative aide, said Indiana has not had an amendment on its ballots, but might this year. The issue was put on Arizona ballots last year, but was defeated.

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I’m a Southern Boy, just 56 last November, I get around here and there, Central America, Africa, Red Bay. I’m a Father, Grandfather, Husband, Artist and general flunky of sorts. Live in a little historic town in an old building I remodeled. Just wanted to hear myself think I guess, talk about the need of simplification, show some art, express an interest or two, brag on my dogs and see where it goes. That’s it!, That’s the deal, Thanks